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Can a person get disability benefits for PTSD?

Social security disability benefits are available to any Ohio resident who is prevented from working by a mental or physical injury or condition. As doctors expand their understanding of the human psyche, a number of mental conditions have been added to the list of qualifying conditions. One of the most important additions is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sometimes called post-traumatic stress syndrome.

PTSD results when a person witnesses or experiences an event that causes intense fear, feelings of helplessness or intense horror. These events can include childhood abuse, rape, physical violence (either experienced or observed) and natural catastrophes such as violent storms. Many people who experience a traumatic event recover from the experience over time and do not develop PTSD. Other persons, however, find that the trauma of the event continues to affect their lives. They can become depressed, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or suicidal.

As with physical disabilities, PTSD can support a claim for SSDI benefits if it prevents a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity. A person can qualify for SSDI benefits if his or her mental condition satisfies the requirements in Section 12.06 of the Blue Book or meets the standard for a medical vocational allowance. A medical vocational allowance is granted if a person’s mental condition does not meet the Blue Book requirements but the condition is severe enough to prevent a person from working in a former job or another job that would pay a “substantial and gainful” income.

Anyone who feels that he or she may be suffering from PTSD and that the symptoms are interfering with work may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in handling SSDI claims. An attorney can evaluate a client’s eligibility, assist with filing a claim and file an appeal if the claim is initially denied.

Source: Social Security Disability Help, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Social Security Disability,” accessed on April 17, 2016

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