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I Have PTSD But I’ve Heard Social Security Won’t Approve Benefits for Mental Impairments


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There are a myriad of serious mental disorders that can affect one’s ability to perform daily activities and make it difficult or impossible to maintain full-time employment. Unfortunately, as many sufferers of mental impairments and their families often come to discover, people are often suspicious of conditions that do not produce outward signs of injury. While mental injuries represent one set of conditions and impairments where this perception can have difficult and damaging effects on the injured person’s recovery, it is not the only type of condition subject to certain biases. Internal injuries and degenerative conditions, such as back injuries, also show few outward signs of distress. And yet, thousands of people are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplement Security Income benefits each year with conditions of this type. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak can help. 

You did not get to choose the severe disability that would come to limit your activities and ability to carry on a full-time job. In fact, if it was your choice you’d be ecstatic to be free from this condition and able to carry on a normal life. Unfortunately, it is not the victim of a disease or injury that gets to make this choice. However, application for benefits can provide the support and resources you need to address your serious PTSD condition.

mental health disability information - I Have PTSD But I’ve Heard Social Security Won’t Approve Benefits for Mental Impairments

What is PTSD and What Effects Can it Have?

Post traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety-related disorder. PTSD is typically caused by a particularly harrowing event that causes the individual to experience feelings of extreme fear, loss, or horror. PTSD is most commonly associated with returning military service members, but any person can develop the condition. Potential circumstances where a PTSD condition can arise include:

  • Witnessing a natural or man-made disaster.
  • Witnessing the death of a child or close family member.
  • Witnessing a child or family member suffering a catastrophic injury.
  • Violent attack on the individual.

However, the impacts of a PTSD condition reach far beyond the initial triggering event or even the period of depression that can follow. PTSD results in chemical changes in the brain and the body. PTSD can be treated, but treatment is complex, lengthy and costly.

How Can a PTSD Sufferer Get Approved for SSDI or SSI Benefits?

Provided that a benefits applicant can meet the program requirements for the SSDI or SSI program, there are several potential pathways to Social Security disability benefits. The first means an individual can obtain approval for benefits is through the listings provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The listing most responsive to a PTSD condition is likely Listing 12.06 for Anxiety-related disorders.

Satisfaction of the listing in contingent on satisfying at least one of the following conditions attributed to anxiety:

  • One of the following is present: Vigilance and scanning, motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity, apprehensive expectation.
  • A long-lasting and irrational fear of a specific situation of object.
  • Recurrent panic attacks
  • Recurrent compulsions or obsessions
  • Intrusive thought on a recurrent basis.

Additionally, to satisfy the listing, the individual must be unable to function independently outside of the home or at least two of the following must be documented:

  • Marked restrictions in activities of daily living
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration
  • Marked difficulties in social functioning
  • Recurrent, lengthy episodes of decompensation

While a listing provides one means to secure Social Security benefits, it is not the sole way to get approved.

PTSD Sufferers May be Able to Qualify Through a Medical-Vocational Allowance

If you have a severe impairment but lack some of the medical evidence necessary to qualify on the basis of the impairment alone, you may still be able to qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. Such an approach permits the SSA to consider the cumulative effects of all your severe and non-severe medical conditions. From this, the SSA determine the things that you are still able to do. This is known as residual functional capacity or RFC.

If your limitation will not permit you to perform past work, the SSA will determine if there is alternate work available for you to perform. If no alternative work is available for someone with your RFC, you will be considered disabled and approved for benefits.

To further discuss your options, contact experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney Ken Kieklak today.

Rely on Our SSDI and SSI Experience

The experienced handling of disability issues by the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can help disabled people secure the support they need. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.

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