How to Qualify for PTSD Disability Benefits in Michigan

PTSD Disability Benefits in Michigan

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and your condition prevents you from working, you may qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). These monthly cash payments provide much-needed financial relief to individuals with debilitating physical and mental health problems. An experienced SSD lawyer from Disability Law Group can explain SSA’s requirements for PTSD disability benefits and assist you throughout the claims process.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event. 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. Reach out to Disability Law Group today for a free consultation.

How to Qualify for PTSD Disability Benefits

There are two ways that applicants can qualify for PTSD disability benefits. The first way is by satisfying 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.

Eligibility Criteria

To secure Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must prove that you meet medical eligibility requirements. You can find PTSD in the Social Security Administration Blue Book under Mental Disorders.

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 mood and behavior
  • Increases in reactivity and arousalPreview (opens in a new tab)

After an applicant satisfies these initial requirements, they must demonstrate “extreme or marked” limitations in at least two of the following areas:

  • Understanding, memory, and application of information
  • Social interactions
  • Concentration, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Self-management or ability to adapt

Rather than showing these limitations, you can still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you can show your PTSD is serious and persistent and you have had the disorder for at least two years. You must also provide evidence of both of the following:

  • You are receiving ongoing medical treatment or mental health therapy that diminishes the symptoms of PTSD.
  • Despite treatment, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or the demands of daily life.

Importance of Medical Documentation

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can manifest in ways that can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. If you have PTSD, you may experience:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Hopelessness
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Irritability, anger, and aggression

It is vital you provide the SSA with medical records related to the treatment you have received for PTSD and its side effects. To support your claim for disability benefits, you can provide the SSA with medical records regarding the following:

  • Your medical, psychiatric, and psychological history
  • Physical and mental health exam results
  • Laboratory findings
  • Prescribed medications
  • Psychological examinations

You can also have people familiar with your condition testify about your PTSD and its impact on your life and ability to work. You could also present evidence from schools, training programs, or work-related programs you attended if your condition affected your performance.

Unfortunately, securing Social Security Disability benefits is often difficult, and many initial applications get denied. Disability Law Group’s experienced SSD lawyers could help review your claim to ensure you submit the necessary medical documentation.

Demonstrating Impact on Employment

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. The SSA does not consider your condition disabling if you can earn more than the annual substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, which is $1,550 in 2024. If you can make this much or more on average per month working, you likely are ineligible for SSDI or SSI.

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. To be considered disabled under this criterion, you must be able to show your symptoms prevent you from holding down a job. You must provide 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 your home

However, 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 assist the SSA with understanding your unique situation, placing you in the best position to be awarded all the benefits you deserve.

How Our Michigan Disability Law Attorneys Can Help

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.

While you focus on your medical condition, our SSD attorneys can assist you by:

  • Preparing your initial application
  • Ensuring you supply the SSA with the required medical and work-related evidence
  • Reviewing denied applications and helping you appeal
  • Gathering additional evidence for your Reconsideration or Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing
  • Representing you during your ALJ hearing
  • Requesting an Appeals Council Review or taking legal action in federal court if necessary
  • Tracking and adhering to claim deadlines
  • Communicating with involved parties
  • Helping you understand your rights and keeping you informed at every stage of the process

Contact a Knowledgeable Social Security Disability Lawyer Today

At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Our caring and compassionate team has won awards and accolades for fighting for our disabled neighbors. Recent recognitions include Crain’s Detroit Notable Women in the Law 2017, Super Lawyers Rising Star for the fifth consecutive year, Lead Counsel Rated, and Avvo’s Client Choice award for the eighth consecutive year.

Let our Michigan SSD lawyers put their skills and case experience behind helping you navigate your disability benefits claim or appeal. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.