Allsup Observes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month in June

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Individuals unable to work due to PTSD may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or VA disability benefits

Allsup encourages individuals who cannot work due to PTSD to determine their eligibility for benefits they earned during their careers.

June 20, 2013—Nearly eight million Americans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the National Institutes of Health. June is PTSD Awareness Month, and PTSD Awareness Day is June 27. Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation and VA disability appeals, encourages individuals who cannot work due to PTSD to determine their eligibility for benefits they earned during their careers.

The effects of combat on war veterans raised public awareness of PTSD, but anyone who has witnessed or experienced a traumatic or violent event, such as a mugging, rape, natural disaster or accident could be at risk.

PTSD symptoms can significantly affect a person’s ability to work. They include:

  • Bad dreams, which can lead to sleep deprivation.
  • Flashbacks, which can be triggered from the person’s own thoughts, feelings or external sources.
  • Feeling guilt, depression, tension, or strong bursts of anger or worry, which can make social interaction difficult.
  • Avoiding triggers, which can make daily activities difficult. For example, after a violent car crash, a person may avoid driving or riding in a car.
  • Hyperarousal symptoms that can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating or concentrating.

PTSD and Social Security Disability Insurance
Post-traumatic stress disorder is listed under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) impairment listing known as Mental Disorders – Medical Listing 12.06. When filing for SSDI, documentation of the anxiety reaction is essential. At least one detailed description of an individual’s typical reaction is required. The description should include the nature, frequency and duration of any reactions, the precipitating and exacerbating factors, and the functional effects.

“It is imperative the individual seek a qualified mental healthcare professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker to ensure proper treatment,” said Ed Swierczek, senior claimant representative for Allsup. “The treating mental healthcare professional must be apprised at each office visit of the symptoms the individual may be having such as panic attacks, irrational fears of specific objects, activities, or situations and recurrent recollections of a traumatic experience.”

In addition to documenting symptoms, it is important the individual convey to his or her mental healthcare professional the impact on his or her functioning. “These symptoms may preclude the individual from being in crowds, going shopping, leaving his or her home, or interacting with others, all of which may prevent one from working,” Swierczek said.

He added that the Social Security disability program considers all of the preceding to determine if one is capable of working.

“Therefore, when seeking treatment for PTSD, it is important that the individual be honest and forthright with their treating mental healthcare professional so his or her condition may be medically documented,” Swierczek explained. “Proper and supportive medical documentation is vital to an SSDI claim for PTSD.”

PTSD and VA Disability Appeals
PTSD has become even more prevalent with the number of individuals in the military having experienced the horrors of war. According to the National Center for PTSD, experts estimate PTSD occurs:

  • In about 11-20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • In as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans.
  • In about 30 percent of Vietnam veterans.

Veterans with PTSD may be eligible for both SSDI and VA disability benefits.

PTSD Awareness Day has been observed on June 27 since Congress passed a resolution in 2010. For more information on PTSD Awareness Month and Day, visit the National Center for PTSD at http://www.ptsd.va.gov. For more information on applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, visit Expert.Allsup.com. Visit Veterans.Allsup.com for information on VA disability appeals.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.

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Rebecca Ray
Allsup
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