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Can you get SSD benefits if you have PTSD?

Not all disabilities are visible. Mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder may not be outwardly obvious, but they can drastically affect a person’s life and ability to earn a living.

The National Center for PTSD estimates that around 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lifetimes. If you are living with PTSD, you may qualify for SSD benefits.

Does PTSD qualify as a disability?

The SSA classifies PTSD as a trauma- and stressor-related mental disorder. For the SSA to recognize your disability, you must provide medical documentation of the following:

  • Exposure to a traumatic event
  • Flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts about the event
  • Avoidance of things that remind you of the event
  • Mood or behavioral disturbances
  • Increased reactivity, such as startling easily

You must also be able to demonstrate that your PTSD limits your mental functioning or that your condition has persisted for two years or more despite medical treatment.

To qualify for benefits, your condition must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. As of 2023, the SSA considers you eligible for benefits if your PTSD symptoms prevent you from earning more than $1470 per month.

How can PTSD prevent you from earning income?

When PTSD interferes with your mental function, it can be difficult to hold a job. Severe PTSD can affect your ability to retain information, concentrate on tasks and interact with others.

People with PTSD also face additional health risks. PTSD has a high rate of comorbidity with other conditions, including anxiety, substance abuse disorders, cardiovascular disease and dementia. Conditions caused or exacerbated by PTSD can contribute to your disability.

If you are struggling to earn a living because of PTSD, you may be eligible for SSI benefits.


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