Can You Get Social Security Disability Benefits for PTSD?

Therapist fills out RFC form on clipboard while interviewing soldier in fatigues about his PTSD

Yes, it is possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but you must meet certain requirements, including proper medical documentation. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your medical records when determining if your PTSD symptoms meet the SSA Blue Book Listing criteria (discussed in more detail below) for you to be considered disabled. Generally, if your symptoms prevent you from working, you may be eligible for Disability benefits.

If you are approved for Disability benefits for PTSD, the length of time that you receive them will generally be based on the continued severity of your PTSD. So, you should remain eligible for benefits as long as the condition is preventing you from working and meeting the SSA requirements discussed below.

So now that I’ve answered the “Can I get Disability for PTSD?” question, let’s move on to two equally important questions regarding Disability benefits for PTSD sufferers: how hard and how much.

American Psychiatric definition of PTSD

How Hard Is It to Get Disability for PTSD?

Applying for Disability benefits for PTSD can be complicated. You must meet specific medical criteria to be considered disabled by PTSD and eligible for Disability benefits. These requirements are outlined in Listing 12.15 in the SSA Blue Book, and a Social Security Disability lawyer and your physician can help you understand if you meet them. (Note: For the purposes of this article, I am focusing on adults with PTSD symptoms.)

In addition to meeting the medical criteria for having PTSD, you must also meet the SSA’s work credit requirement to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The number of work credits you need depends of how old you were when you became disabled.

To receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must meet SSA’s limited income/asset/resource threshold, as well as the medical criteria for PTSD. Talk with an attorney to see if you meet the requirements for receiving SSDI or SSI benefits for your PTSD.

Statement about the purpose of a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form

An SSD lawyer can also advise you on ways to help make your application as complete and accurate as possible. For example, since the SSA looks closely at the opinions of treating doctors, an attorney may advise you to ask your mental health provider to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. The RFC form can be pivotal in proving that you are unable to work substantially, which can strengthen your Disability claim.

It can be challenging to get approved for benefits with a mental illness, especially if you do not precisely meet a Blue Book listing. In cases such as these, you may still qualify for a medical vocational allowance. I strongly urge you to consult with an experienced Social Security Disability (SSD) attorney and your physician when seeking Disability benefits for PTSD.

How Much Disability Can I Get for PTSD?

If the SSA determines that you are disabled because PTSD prevents you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that can help you estimate potential SSD benefits. An SSD attorney can also help you estimate how much you could receive in Disability benefits, as well as help you seek the maximum benefits for your PTSD.

James Scott Farrin Wants to Help You With Your PTSD Disability Claim

The Social Security Disability team at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin understands how confusing the claims process can be. And we also know that many people think they cannot afford an attorney. We work on a contingency fee basis so that you pay no attorney’s fee unless we get you compensation.2 Call us today for a free case evaluation today.

Rick Fleming

About the Author

Rick Fleming practices Social Security Disability law at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. In addition to heading up the firm’s Social Security Disability Department, he is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law and fluent in English and Spanish. Rick has received multiple Order of Service awards from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and he is an active board member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). He currently holds the board-elected position of NOSSCR Treasurer, after completing a year serving as the organization’s Secretary.