How to Get Social Security Disability for Veterans with PTSD

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Veterans have options when it comes to recovering disability benefits for PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a life-altering condition that comes as a consequence of veterans who experienced scarring events while serving their country. Veterans struggling with PTSD can quickly become overwhelmed with determining which route to pursue benefits. A disability lawyer can help you figure out how to get social security disability for veterans with PTSD. 

What Is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress disorder. PTSD is a mental health issue that is the result of witnessing or partaking in a life-threatening situation or other traumatic events. This can be acquired through many avenues, such as experiencing a violent accident, surviving abuse or domestic violence, or enduring an unsafe and chaotic environment, such as a war zone or catastrophic event. Most who have served our country have some form of PTSD.

This unique mental health illness can affect relationships with friends and family. It is often difficult to cohabitate with loved ones as a person experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Family members may struggle to understand the experience of the person with PTSD. The VA has dedicated websites to help people who believe they suffer from this mental health issue cope. The symptoms of PTSD last for several months to years.

There is no exact time frame for how long someone can suffer from this mental health issue. The VA does offer some treatments, but they cannot be guaranteed. PTSD treatments typically provide solutions for coping with symptoms of the disorder, rather than a cure.

Does SSDI for PTSD Impact VA Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance is available to any qualified individual who submits for it. Obtaining approval is the difficult part. It is worth hiring a Social Security disability lawyer if you are going to apply for benefits. Veteran’s Affairs Disability is available as well. Applicants can submit for both types of benefits at the same time. The two benefit programs are administered by separate parts of the government. To obtain SSDI, the individual must have built up a substantial amount of work credit and suffer from a qualifying condition. An SSDI approval is not impacted by a recipient’s VA benefit award. Similarly, approval for VA benefits is not impacted by SSDI benefits. 

Getting Social Security Disability for Veterans with PTSD

Individuals with PTSD can file for Social Security Disability. This is different from VA disability and can be filed by anyone, so you do not need to be a veteran to qualify. To ensure the best possible outcome, it is better to hire an attorney who can ensure forms are filled out correctly and all forms are submitted in a timely manner. To be considered for SSDI, the Veteran must have a condition that will not allow him or her to return to full function over the next few months to years, or even his or her life span. The claimant’s PTSD has to be considered preventative of “substantial gainful activity,” meaning, it has to affect the veteran and keep him or her from holding down a job or career. The veteran must have enough work credits built up to allow for processing and payments to be issued. The Social Security department requires that work be shown for the last five out of ten years.

PTSD can be a qualifying condition for disability benefits. There are several factors to allow for Social Security Disability qualifications to be met:

  • The applicant must meet work history requirements, meaning there must have been enough work credits built up to allow for payments to be issued
  • The applicant is unable to perform the work you did prior to the PTSD diagnosis
  • PTSD does not allow the applicant to adjust to other types of work
  • The PTSD will last for years or until your death

The above requirements must be met in order to be successful when filing for Social Security Disability as a Veteran with PTSD. Along with answering those previous requirements, the Veteran must share his or her medical history with the Social Security Department. This includes records from physician assistants, psychiatric nurses, practitioners, and licensed social workers. These records are required for continuity to verify the diagnosis and effect of PTSD on the Veteran and his or her ability to hold down a job.

Both the Social Security Administration and Veteran Affairs have an open-door policy with each other. They share documents back and forth. It can take 5 or more months for both departments to review all the documentation provided. A veteran disability attorney can ensure no forms or deadlines were missed. If approved, the Veteran will receive Social Security benefits until he or she is able to return to work or is still deemed unable to work.

 Obtaining VA Disability Benefits for PTSD

A Veteran can seek disability through the VA at any point for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, there are some requirements that must be met to be successful in the claim. In order to file for disability through the VA, you have to have had a traumatic stressor event or traumatic event that is related to PTSD. In addition, the VA requires further details and requirements to be approved. The following must be true in order for the VA to consider your claim: the stressor event had to have occurred while on active duty or during your service time, you cannot function as well as you could prior to the event occurring, and lastly, a doctor has to have diagnosed you with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These three criteria are vital to a VA benefits claim. The claim must also include a statement in support of a claim for service connection for PTSD. A disability lawyer can help claimants navigate the path to Social Security Disability for veterans with PTSD.

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