Soldier talking to a therapist

PTSD is a difficult disorder to understand. For years, it was misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and often ignored by the medical community, the government, and even many of the people who had it. Though things are a lot better now than they once were, the symptoms of PTSD are still wide and varied, which can be especially difficult if you are applying for SSDI or VA benefits for your PTSD. Tabak Law is going to help you understand some of the symptoms and signs, but remember to consult a medical professional.

Common Symptoms For PTSD

PTSD symptoms are broken up into four categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, arousal + reactivity symptoms, and cognition + mood symptoms. Below we go through each of the four symptom categories.

Soldier being consoled in a group setting

Re-experiencing Symptoms of PTSD

  • Flashback
  • Distressing thoughts
  • Physical signs of stress
  • Recurring dreams or memories

Avoidance Symptoms of PTSD

  • Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings of the traumatic event

Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms of PTSD

  • Easily started
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling tense
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability with aggressive outbursts
  • Displaying reckless or destructive behavior

Cognition and Mood Symptoms of PTSD

  • Negative thoughts about self or the world
  • Ongoing negative emotions
  • Trouble remembering the traumatic event
  • Exaggerated feelings of blame
  • Difficulty feeling positive emotions
  • Feelings of social isolation
  • Loss of interest in previous activities

What Not to Say When Applying for SSDI?

What Symptoms Do You Have to Have to be Diagnosed With PTSD?

To be diagnosed with PTSD as an adult, you have to have symptoms from all categories, and in specific amounts, over the course of an average month.

  • One or more re-experiencing symptoms
  • One or more avoidance symptoms
  • Two or more arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • Two or more cognition and mood symptoms

Even after a diagnosis of PTSD, you still may not have enough evidence for VA benefits or SSDI. VA benefits can be a little easier, as you don’t have to prove 100% disability, you just have to prove the disability and that it was connected to your service. Your struggle there will be getting a rating that fits your symptoms.

For SSDI the bar is higher. You don’t just have to prove that you have PTSD, you also have to prove that it is inhibiting your ability to work, that symptoms will continue to prevent you from working for at least 12 months, and—depending on your age—that vocational training will not enable you to work.

Read More: Can Young People Get SSDI?

Can You Qualify for SSDI or Veterans Benefits With PTSD?

PTSD is a qualifying condition for both VA benefits and SSDI. Unfortunately, for both programs, mental conditions are often the hardest to prove. To make things easier, you have to document everything, make sure your medical visits are documented, and follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment plans. It is also beneficial to have personal accounts from family, friends, and coworkers. 

Get Legal Help Getting the Benefits You Deserve

If you have been denied veterans or SSDI benefits for your PTSD, then seeking legal help is a good idea. Luckily, Tabak Law has expertise in both and we can provide a free case review. We only take payment out of your benefits back pay and we only take payment if we win.

Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.

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