Unfortunately one of the most common afflictions among America’s military personnel is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD is an anxiety-related mental health disorder resulting from experiencing or witnessing firsthand a life-threatening or extraordinarily dangerous event, including but not limited to combat, death, natural disaster, sexual assault, terrorist attack, or fatal accident.
PTSD can prevent a veteran from returning to a healthy life after service has concluded. It can harm social and family relationships as well as inhibit a veteran’s ability to work. In addition to its adverse effects on mental wellbeing, PTSD can contribute to other conditions such as cardiovascular or autoimmune disorders.
Does PTSD Qualify Veterans for Social Security Disability?
Suffering Post-traumatic Stress Disorder may qualify many veterans for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits. Several behavioral or psychological symptoms are associated with PTSD, including heightened agitation, hostility, social isolation, self-destructive behavior, insomnia, loss of interest in usual activities and even suicidal thoughts.
Treatment of PTSD may involve therapy, medication or even a combination of both. PTSD cannot always be successfully treated and may be severe enough to prevent a veteran from holding a job or performing tasks they were capable of before experiencing trauma.
Veterans with PTSD may also be able to receive compensation for suffering from their service. Unfortunately, this process can be complicated as it involves several different government agencies.
The Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a federal program intended to supplement the income of citizens who are physically incapable of regular employment. Veterans who may suffer from PTSD also have benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs or VA.
Both Social Security and the VA pay disability benefits. Veterans may qualify for both VA benefits and SSDI benefits. Each agency has its eligibility and payment amounts; however, the VA benefits are income-based, which can disqualify a veteran from receiving SSDI benefits.
Have Proof of PTSD and Symptoms
Veterans: merely demonstrating that you have PTSD is not enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. The more evidence you have proving disability, the better the chances of approval.
The Social Security Administration or SSA has a five-step process to decide who qualifies for disability benefits. The SSA must determine that a veteran’s income is below the threshold to be eligible for benefits.
PTSD must also be severe enough to inhibit the veteran from performing routine work tasks, such as everyday physical activity, essential sensory functions (seeing, hearing, speaking), comprehending instructions, and making frequent changes. Veterans must provide documentation of anxiety, panic attacks, or other effects due to PTSD. Such documentation must be issued by a physician, psychiatrist, or another credible person who has witnessed the impact of the disorder. Records must include detailed descriptions of a typical episode, including how long episodes usually last and how often they occur.
SSDI benefits are often approved if a veteran also receives a medical-vocational allowance or MVA. Veterans can obtain an MVA if they have been denied benefits during any step of the process and can demonstrate a limited Residual Functional Capacity or RFC. The RFC is what a veteran can still do while enduring PTSD.
Once an application is submitted, benefits can take several months to a year to be made available, however veterans may receive a lump-sum retroactive payment for the time between the onset of PTSD and the receipt of benefits.
While the process for proving and receiving PTSD benefits is not easy, it is not impossible. Veterans deserve the opportunity to restore as much of their life as possible, and there are many programs available to make that happen.
Read about 3 ways to treat PTSD naturally.