Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder that develops after one experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. PTSD is not limited to a military event like war, but can also be triggered by other goings-on such as natural disasters, tragic accidents, the death of a loved one, sexual assault, etc.

PTSD can cause symptoms like flashbacks, anxiety, and the avoidance of any triggers related to the traumatic event. If you battle with PTSD and are unable to work because of your condition, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

How Can PTSD be a Disability?

The symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can impact your ability to perform common tasks required by your job, such as maintaining focus, interacting with others, and managing your emotions. If your case is severe, you might find yourself unable to work at all because of the difficulties brought on by managing your symptoms. 

In such cases, PTSD can be considered a disability because it hinders or prevents the ability to earn a living and support yourself financially. This can impact your ability to lead a fulfilling life.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify for disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These considerations include:

A Medical Diagnosis

One of the main criteria for receiving disability benefits for PTSD is a documented diagnosis. This should be chronicled in your medical records from a mental health professional, like a therapist or psychiatrist.

The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), must be met for you to be eligible for benefits.

Your Symptoms Affect Your Ability to Work

In addition to having a documented diagnosis of PTSD, you must also be able to demonstrate that your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from being able to work. This can be achieved by providing proof of how your symptoms impact your daily activities and your ability to successfully perform your necessary and required job tasks.

For example, individuals with PTSD may have difficulty interacting with others, staying focused, or controlling emotions. These symptoms can make it challenging to complete common tasks required by most jobs, and can therefore be used as evidence in supporting a claim.

Work History and Earnings

Another criterion for receiving disability benefits for PTSD is having a documented work history and earnings. The SSA uses this information to determine your eligibility for benefits, as well as the number of monthly benefit payments. To receive disability benefits, you must have worked a specified timeframe and earned a minimum income.

Third-Party Statements

The SSA can weigh evidence from non-medical sources, such as employers and family members, in awarding disability claims for PTSD. In addition to medical evidence, this information can help the SSA make a more informed decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.

Friends and family can oftentimes provide valuable information about your symptoms, such as frequency and severity, and how impacted your ability to engage in daily activities is. Your employer can indicate how PTSD symptoms impact your ability to perform the tasks required by your job.

Your employer could also cite any incidents in which your PTSD symptoms caused you problems at work, such as difficulty interacting with co-workers or meeting deadlines.

Do you Need an Attorney?

While you could file for social security disability claims yourself, it isn’t advised A knowledgeable and qualified attorney can make a significant difference. Because these claims and diagnoses can both be so tricky and complicated, it’s best to hire a lawyer. 


PTSD has real debilitating physical effects, and if you have PTSD, you deserve to get benefits available to help you and your family as you cope with your conditions. A reputable disability attorney will help you in all areas of your claim, from the initial application to any subsequent appeal.

The legal team at Foley Law Offices works to ensure you get your due. Focus on your recovery as over thirty years of experience navigates your claim through the system. Leave the worry about form filing errors, amount of evidence, diagnoses requirements, and other processes that could derail your application, at the law office door.

With a success rate upward of 80% in social security cases, Foley Law Offices should be your first call in helping you toward collecting social security benefits for your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder today.