Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects the lives of around 7 to 8 million Americans each year.  Every day, people can experience various forms of trauma that can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Because of this, PTSD is more common than most people think. In light of PTSD awareness month, this article will discuss why symptoms related PTSD can be a debilitating mental condition and how PTSD qualifies as a disability via medical requirements so you can get assistance for it.
One of the most defining groups of symptoms of the conditions and can help grant you disability for PTSD is the re-experiencing ones, which include:
These re-experiencing symptoms are disabling for many people because they can interfere with everyday function, and they can happen suddenly through various triggers. Triggers can be anything that reminds a person of a traumatic event, such as words, people, objects, and even sounds and scents.
When people become triggered, they can experience flashbacks, which are involuntary and uncontrollable recollections of past events that can produce powerful responses in people and physiological effects. 
For someone with PTSD, flashbacks can feel incredibly realistic, and people can respond as if the traumatic event was occurring all over again, causing great distress. You might feel like you have a complete inability to avoid them. They can happen at any time, and this can cause people to try to avoid their triggers at all costs.
At night, individuals can also have recurrent nightmares, which like flashbacks, can be vivid. This can cause chronic sleep problems for people with PTSD, which can have adverse health consequences, including making bad dreams more intense.
A lack of sleep because of the disorder can cause people to underperform at school at work and can significantly impact a person's mood. This is one reason why PTSD is often comorbid with depression and other anxiety disorders, and people with the condition can also be prone to becoming irritable or having impaired concentration.
This disorder can make people feel irritable, aggressive, hypervigilant, or easily started, and can also cause a person to have angry outbursts, which belong to a PTSD symptom cluster known as the arousal and reactivity symptoms. . They might also have marked difficulties in moving forward in life.
These symptoms can make forming and maintaining relationships with others much more difficult because they are typically constant, and unfortunately, it can push others away, especially those who are close to them and want to help.
It can create distrust between partners, and those who have experienced a traumatic event, especially sexual-related one, might have trouble being intimate with his or her significant other.
PTSD also has the potential to cause tension between others, such as with coworkers, who might not be aware that an individual has PTSD. However, if your employer is aware that you have the condition and you qualify for disability for PTSD, certain accommodations may be made to improve a person's job satisfaction.
The negative social effects of PTSD have been documented as early as school-aged children, and it can severely affect how kids interact with one another, such as playing.  If left untreated, this can carry on throughout adulthood and in the workplace.
As mentioned earlier, depression is another condition that is often found alongside PTSD because the disorder can severely impact a person's quality of life by putting limitations on it. For example, avoiding triggers can make a person feel like they cannot go through life freely; instead, they are in fear — sometimes irrational fear — most of the time. They might have intense apprehension about their day-to-day actions.
Depression and anxiety that are associated with PTSD are contributors to unemployment and underemployment rates. For those who manage to work, the disorder can cause individuals to struggle to meet work-related deadlines and others demands and can lead to higher absenteeism, especially for visits to the doctor.  Others may experience physical conditions, like muscle tension, headaches, or increased blood pressure.
Because PTSD, depression, and anxiety can be destructive and be a roadblock to a person's success, it can also lead to another issue - substance use and dependency. Compared to those without PTSD, an investigation from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area showed that men with the disorder were five times more likely to have abused drugs, whereas women were 1.4 times more probable to engage in it. 
Additionally, another sample from the National Comorbidity Study demonstrated that approximately 52 percent of men and 28 percent of women met the criteria for lifetime alcohol abuse and dependency. 
Unfortunately, the negative feelings that come with PTSD can put a person at risk of suicide as well. An older study from 1991 that documented 100 Vietnam veterans showed that 19 of them had made an attempt on their own lives, and an additional 15 more former soldiers had suicidal ideation after the war ended. In addition to PTSD, depression, and anxiety, these soldiers cited guilt as being a factor in their reasoning. 
Guilt is a common manifestation in PTSD, and survivors of any traumatic situation, not just war, might blame themselves for the event, which can contribute to the challenges that people with PTSD face on a daily basis.
PTSD is, without a doubt, a disabling condition for millions of people, and because of this, it is possible to qualify for aid from the government if you meet the requirements via a disability application.
Like being diagnosed with PTSD, and needing to meet the minimum symptoms, the SSA also has its own set of requirements to satisfy for being considered disabled. Also, like DSM-5, PTSD is categorized in the Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders group in the SSA Blue Book, and according to Section 12.15 within it, the criteria goes as follows :
It is important to clarify that, to qualify for disability for PTSD, you must have been diagnosed by a doctor beforehand; however, chances are, if you've been diagnosed, you will satisfy the SSA requirements as well.
Additionally, if you are a veteran of the U.S military, you can also apply for assistance with the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, and you must be able to confirm that :
The VA states that qualifying traumatic events are if you "experienced a serious injury, personal or sexual trauma, or sexual violation, or you were threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death." 
If either of these departments determines that you qualify for disability, you can be provided with compensation/living allowance as well as helping you get treatment for your PTSD.
However, PTSD disability living allowance may vary from person-to-person; for example, the VA department rates disability on a percentage scale to determine how severe one's disability and how much allowance they will be granted. In total, there are six different possible ratings a person can receive.
Therefore, with the VA criteria, it is possible to have a diagnosis of PTSD, yet, still be rated a 0 on the scale, and unfortunately, will not receive a monthly check for disability for PTSD because the symptoms do not prevent you from working. Nonetheless, even if you are still on the lower end of the spectrum, you still can be granted some financial compensation.  Some people may reach out to a disability attorney, where they can be assured of attorney-client confidentiality with their case.
If you are one of the approximately 8 million people in the United States who are living with PTSD and are struggling to make ends meet because of this mental illness, disability is an option for you.
However, if you have not yet received a diagnosis from your primary doctor or a mental health professional, it is essential that you do that before applying for disability for PTSD since they require medical records of your condition over an extended duration of time.
If you happen to have applied for aid; but the SSA or VA agencies have determined that you can still work and perform other essential functions, but you still are affected by this disorder on a daily basis, therapy is always an option, and people have effectively learned how to manage their symptoms through techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
BetterHelp offers online therapy and counseling sessions for all mental conditions, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Providers on BetterHelp.com cannot prescribe medication, but here you can acquire the skills you need to cope with PTSD at a reasonable pace. Working with a therapist, you will learn skills to address your fears and how you can respond to them. You might also pick up practical personal skills you can carry with you in the future.
If you've been wondering "is PTSD a disability?" or you were curious if and how you can get assistance, hopefully, this article has been informative and has answered all of your questions. To learn more about PTSD and other mental health topics, please visit BetterHelp's advice section, where you can find more educational articles just like this one.
Some commonly asked questions about post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to disability benefits include the following.
When you apply for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration, they will require you to prove through medical records and medical evidence that you have severe symptoms that makes your PTSD qualify for a disability claim.
You must prove that your condition causes extreme limitations that impede your social functioning and prevents you from working. Such symptoms could be severe panic attacks daily, autonomic hyperactivity, and worsening psychiatric symptoms.
Social security medical listing benefits are meant for those who cannot work at all or can only work a limited amount. Cash benefits are sent to those who qualify. However, it is difficult to get approved for a disability claim based on stressor-related disorders. Your medical evidence will need to be convincing and accurate, from your initial claims. Psychiatric hospital records for any stays related to your PTSD can help.
If you end up going to a hearing for your Social Security disability claim, you will also have to find a disability lawyer to help you prove your disability. Your lawyer will make sure your PTSD is properly medically documented for the judge.
Many attorneys offer a free consultation to get to know if their services work for your case. An attorney advertising for disability rights cases can speak to you about how your PTSD symptoms impact your work life and why you are requesting PTSD disability benefits. Remember, you have a confidential relationship with your attorney once you work together, so anything you tell them or offer to them will not be told outside of court or without your permission.
Working while experiencing PTSD symptoms is possible. No matter if your PTSD was due to a natural disaster, general traumatic experience, a post-traumatic stress injury, childhood abuse, or veterans’ affairs, you can find a way to continue maintaining social functioning and practice personal skills to be able to enter the workforce.
In some cases, symptoms of PTSD such as generalized persistent anxiety, frequent panic attacks, and the inability to react in socially appropriate ways can make it hard to find work. If you want to work and do not wish to apply for PTSD disability benefits, it is possible.
As a traumatic stress disorder, PTSD can make it hard to focus, trust, and feel safe. However, with the proper trained mental health professional on your side, it is 100% possible to treat PTSD and find relief.
Getting disability benefits for PTSD is not easy for everyone. Depending on your medical records and the social security case that you build, your case may be easier to approve than others. If you have other mental health conditions like an anxiety disorder, this can also increase your chances of receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Properly medically documented symptoms and records are the best way to get Social Security disability benefits. If you develop PTSD after applying for Social Security or SSDI benefits for a different reason, you can also submit new evidence. However, this should be done before you get to the court-hearing stage. Otherwise, the only thing that constitutes acceptance in your case will be the initially submitted documents that you brought to your attorney.
PTSD disability claims are often approved for a medical-vocational allowance only. A medical-vocational allowance allows you to gain cash benefits from Social Security, even if you do not qualify 100% as disabled under their Bluebook rules.
If you have more questions about the Social Security disability process, do a zip code search for government agencies in your area that hold social security disability interviews and take applications.