According to the Social Security Administration, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that develops after a person of any age experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. For some individuals, the traumatic event may cause only mild symptoms, while for others, the consequences of such an event can be devastating. For this reason, the SSA grants social security disability benefits to Alabama residents and other U.S. citizens who develop PTSD.
To receive SSD benefits for PTSD, a person must receive a confirmed diagnosis from a mental health professional. Said professional may base his or her diagnosis off a number of factors, including noticeable symptoms. Though symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person, they often include flashbacks, avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the event, angry outbursts, sleep disturbances, nightmares, negative thoughts about oneself, distorted feelings such as guilt or blame and difficulties remembering key facts of the event.
Symptoms do not always develop right away. Typically, the symptoms of PTSD often appear within three months of the traumatic event, though for some, they might not appear until years later. In mild PTSD cases, symptoms may persist for a month or slightly longer. In more severe cases, however, they may recur or intensify in response to life stressors, reminders of the traumatic event or newly experienced traumatic events. If a person fails to receive treatment for the condition, the symptoms may persist for the rest of his or her life.
Also per the Social Security Administration, Medical Listings 12.15 and 112.15, Trauma- and stressor-related disorders, cover the condition. To receive SSD benefits for the condition, a person must provide medical documentation that proves the existence of five factors:
- Exposure to threatened or actual serious injury, violence or death
- Involuntary re-living of the traumatic event (intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks)
- Avoidance of external factors that may serve as reminders of the event
- Mood and behavior disturbances
- Increases in reactivity and arousal (sleep disturbances and amplified startle response)
In addition to proving the existence of the above five factors, the claimant must also show that the condition lead to the extreme or marked limitation in two of the following areas: remembering, understanding or applying information; interacting with others; adapting or managing oneself; or concentrating.
If a person cannot show the extreme or marked limitation in two of the four areas, he or she may still receive SSD for PTSD if he or she can show that the condition is “serious and persistent.” This involves providing medical documentation that proves the existence of the disorder and that spans a period of at least two years.