A wheelchair bound military office with PTSD, smiling as he is receiving medical assistance.

How to Qualify for PTSD Disability Benefits in Michigan

PTSD is a mental disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event, and it can put you at risk for a variety of debilitating mental and physical problems. While PTSD symptoms typically begin within a few months of a traumatic event, they can also take several years to appear. In fact, many people have PTSD and don’t truly understand the nature and extent of their condition. It is for this reason that you should contact a Michigan disability law attorney if you have PTSD, or have experienced a traumatic event, as you may be entitled to disability benefits.

How to qualify for PTSD disability benefits

There are two ways that applicants can qualify for PTSD disability benefits. The first way is satisfaction of the Social Security Administration’s ‘Listing’ requirements for trauma and stressor-related disorders at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process. The second route is through proving that due to your PTSD-related symptoms, you are unable to work. Further, veterans may be eligible for both Social Security disability benefits due to their PTSD, and/or other impairments, as well as through the VA by proving service-connection.

In order to qualify via Social Security’s PTSD Listing under 12.15 ‘Trauma and stressor-related disorders,’ an applicant must submit medical documentation proving all of the following factors:

  • Exposure to actual or threatened violence, serious injury, or death
  • Involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of things that remind the applicant of the traumatic event
  • Disturbances in behavior
  • Increases in reactivity and arousal

After an applicant satisfies this initial requirements, he or she must demonstrate limitations in at least two of the following areas:

  • Memory and application of information
  • Social interactions
  • Concentration or maintaining pace
  • Self-management or ability to adapt

However, if the applicant’s symptoms and limitations do not sufficiently meet, or medically equal, the severity of the factors outlined above, the PTSD Listing may still be met. The last part of this Listing looks at whether the individual’s PTSD symptoms are “serious and persistent” through a demonstrated history of at least 2 years. The evidence must show both medical treatment (such as therapy visits), and that despite such treatment or support, the person has minimal ability to adapt to change in their daily life.   

As noted above, the second way to qualify for PTSD disability benefits through Social Security, whether filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits or for Supplemental Security Income, is to prove that your condition(s) keep you from sustaining full-time or gainful employment. Social Security will not only look at work you have done in the past, to evaluate whether you could return to such work or similarly situated jobs, but other work that is available in our national economy. As you can imagine, this is also a difficult road to manage in proving your claim. To be considered disabled, under this criterion, the applicant’s symptoms may preclude any ability to hold down a job with medical evidence demonstrating one or more of the following:

  • Concentration and/or memory problems
  • Chronic fatigue from poor sleep patterns
  • Difficulty interacting with others, including family and coworkers
  • Bad days that would make it difficult to leave ones home

However, in order to effectively demonstrate the presence of any of the above signs and symptoms, it is recommended that all applicants for PTSD disability benefits obtain the services of an experienced Michigan disability law attorney to assist with the application process. Not only can an attorney help you by obtaining all necessary evidence for your case, but they can provide helpful forms for your psychiatrist, and treating providers, to help Social Security best understand your unique situation, placing you in the best position to be awarded all benefits you deserve.

Michigan Disability Law Attorneys

If you’d like to receive disability benefits due to PTSD or some other medical condition(s), or if you have been denied disability benefits for your PTSD in the past, the skilled disability law attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help. At Disability Law Group, our caring and dedicated Michigan attorneys will be by your side during every step of the process, from filing the initial application to appealing your denial in court, if necessary. From your very first call, and throughout the entire process, our experienced disability law lawyers will provide you with the exceptional service and compassionate treatment you deserve. So, if you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and would like to apply for disability benefits or fight a denial, Disability Law Group is on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.