How to Get Social Security Disability for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Richmond, Virginia


To get disability for PTSD, you must prove that you suffered a past trauma that causes current symptoms resulting in severe limitations and restrictions in your ability to focus, concentrate, and interact with others.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and How it Affects Your Life


Roughly half of all men and women live through or witness at least one traumatic event in their lives, such as a car wreck, physical assault, violence, sexual abuse, war combat, or natural disaster (fire, hurricane, earthquake, or tornado). Each of us react to this trauma in a different way. Sometimes we react with strong emotions, like anger, sadness, frustration, guilt, or feelings of fright. These feelings can go away or lessen with time.


But for some people, these feelings may last weeks, months, or even years. In fact, roughly 30 percent of disaster survivors report psychiatric symptoms following a traumatic event. The stress from the traumatic event can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with activities of daily living and work-related tasks.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist based on mental status examinations, your reported history, and your medical records. A PTSD diagnosis is made when the following criteria are present:


  • Being exposed to threatened or actual death, serious injury, or sexual assault in at least one of the following ways:
    • Having lived through the traumatic event.
    • Seeing the event in person (for example, seeing someone killed or injured, or being the first to arrive on scene after the death).
    • Learning that a close friend or family member was the victim of violence or seriously hurt in an accident.
    • Being exposed to trauma repeatedly (for example, police officers exposed to gruesome scenes of violence or details of abuse).




  • Having at least one of these symptoms for 1 month or more after the traumatic event:
    • Memories of the traumatic event that keep happening without warning and that cause distress that interrupts your ability to function.
    • Flashbacks that cause you to feel as though you’re reliving the event.
    • Nightmares that contain details of the trauma and that wake you.
    • Physical responses to thoughts, memories, or reminders of the trauma, such as loud sounds in the case of war combat. These physical responses include sweating, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat.




  • Avoidance of any reminder of the traumatic event for more than 1 month after it happens, as shown by at least one of the following:
    • Avoiding memories, feelings, or thoughts of the event.
    • Avoiding any settings or activities that remind you of the event.




  • Showing at least two of the following symptoms for 1 month or more after the traumatic event, which began or became worse after the event:
    • Lowered self-esteem, manifesting as negative beliefs about your self.
    • Frequent fear, guilt, horror, or shame.
    • Decreased interest in activities you once enjoyed.
    • Feeling detached from others.
    • Having a negative attitude.
    • Having difficulty remembering parts of the traumatic event.


PTSD symptoms can cause distress and frustration that affect your ability to interact with friends, family members, and strangers and work without making mistakes.


If you’re unable to work full-time because of your PTSD, or have been fired from at least one job because of your PTSD, Richmond disability attorney Corey Pollard can help you get approved for Social Security disability for PTSD. Call, text, or email us for a free consultation. We’ve helped military veterans with PTSD, as well as individuals suffering from PTSD related to childhood abuse or violence.


Getting Social Security Disability for PTSD


There are two ways to get disability benefits for PTSD. The first way is to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) listing for trauma- and stressor-related disorders. The second way to receive disability for PTSD is through a medical-vocational allowance. Most disability claims based on PTSD are awarded through a medical-vocational allowance.


Social Security Listing for PTSD


Under Social Security Listing 12.15, you will receive Social Security disability benefits for PTSD if you have:


A. Medical documentation showing all the following:


  1. Exposure to an actual or threatened death, injury, or violence;
  2. Subsequent re-experiencing of the traumatic event (dreams, nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive memories you can’t control);
  3. Avoidance of reminders of the event;
  4. Changes in mood and behavior; and
  5. Increased reactivity to reminders of the traumatic event




B. Extreme limitations of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas regarding mental functioning and abilities:


  1. Understanding, remembering or applying information to complete tasks
  2. Interacting with other people
  3. Maintaining concentration and focus on the job so that you are on-task and working at the required pace
  4. Adapting to change and managing your emotions


Even if your medical records do not support a finding that you’re experiencing limitations at the listing level, you can still receive Social Security disability for PTSD through a medical-vocational allowance.


Getting a SSD Medical-Vocational Allowance with PTSD


As your disability lawyer, we’ll use your medical records, psychological evaluations, and testimony, as well as testimony from family members and friends, to show the types of PTSD symptoms you experience, the frequency and duration of nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts, and how these symptoms affect your ability to function at work and at home.


If the SSA finds that you’ll be unable to stay on-task at work, interact with coworkers, supervisors, and the general public, or have good attendance at work due to bad days where your symptoms are worse, then you will get approved for SSDI benefits or SSI.


Social Security Disability Lawyer for PTSD Claims in Virginia


We understand how difficult and frustrating it is to deal with your mental illness while you’re trying to function day to day and get back to life before the traumatic event. But we can help. While you focus on getting better, we focus on helping you get Social Security disability benefits for your PTSD.


Call us today if you live in Central Virginia or Hampton Roads. We’ve served as lawyer for veterans with PTSD, as well as victims of abuse and violence. We’re ready to help you get the cash benefits and medical care you need and deserve for your posttraumatic stress disorder.