PTSD Documentation That Will Strengthen Your Disability Claim
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that can suddenly increase anxiety, fear, paranoia, and aggression in those who suffer from it. Although commonly associated with combat trauma in veterans, PTSD can affect anyone as a result of a traumatic experience.
PTSD covers a wide variety of symptoms and can vary in severity from minor to extreme. Extreme cases can affect a person’s ability to function in society and greatly disrupt his ability to work. Considering the effects, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes extreme cases of PTSD as eligible for disability benefits. However, in order to be approved, you must be able to show persuasive documentation supporting how and why your condition prevents you from working. If the SSA board does not find your evidence compelling, they will deny your claim. Therefore, whether you’re submitting a new claim or appealing a denied claim, it’s important to know what to include and how to present it to get the board’s attention.
Required Documentation and Persuasive Evidence
One of the most common errors people make when filing a disability claim is failing to provide adequate proof of why they require benefits. To prove your need, you must be able to show the board your limitations through the following pieces of documentation:
- Medical records. The first things the SSA board will look for are documents verifying your condition and its severity. Records of inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment, doctor or clinic notes, and medical diagnoses are all forms that should be included in your claim. Additional records, such as brain scans and X-ray images can be included to rule out physical injuries and support the PTSD claim.
- Employer statements. The board will also require proof that your condition limits your ability to work. A statement from a former employer discussing the effects of your PTSD can go a long way in convincing the board that you’re an unreliable employee. This statement should include observations of disruptive behavior, missed work, and an inability to finish tasks.
- Police or military reports. Providing details of the cause of your PTSD will not only increase the board’s understanding of your condition, but it will also increase empathy.
- Symptom and effect records. A detailed record of how your PTSD episodes occur, as well as examples of your reactions, can aid in illustrating the severity of your condition.
- Residual Functional Capacity form. An RFC is a letter written on your behalf by an attending physician, psychologist, or therapist. The letter addresses key attributes of your condition as well as your ability to function. It also includes the professional opinion of the writer—backed by medical science—on whether you meet the qualifications for PTSD and if you’re capable of sustaining a job.
- Family and friend observations. Personal observations of your behavior written by friends and family can also be helpful in showing your limitations and social weaknesses.
Filing Your Claim
Now that you know what you need, how do you get it? You may be able to request copies of your medical records and ask your previous employers for statements. However, to ensure your claim has the substance it needs to attract the SSA board’s attention, you should secure the influence and advice of an experienced disability attorney. John L. Keefe has committed his entire career to helping those who are unable to work build strong claims. After 40 years of processing, gathering evidence, and filing claims to the SSA, he is well seasoned in exactly what to do and what not to do for an approval. Call our office today to schedule your FREE case review. We’re waiting to help rebuild your PTSD claim so you can start focusing on your condition, rather than on how to pay your bills.
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