Anyone in New York may develop post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. According to the Social Security Administration’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet, 7% to 8% of the U.S. population will have PTSD during their lifetime.

This mental disorder can be debilitating for many who develop it, and some may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if their symptoms prevent them from sustaining gainful employment. PTSD eligibility is covered in the SSA medical listings 12.15, trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

According to the SSA, a person must provide medical documentation of the following to be eligible for benefits:

  • The person was exposed to the threat of or actual violence, serious injury or death
  • The person then began suffering from intrusive memories, flashbacks or other types of involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event
  • The person developed an avoidance of things that remind him or her of the traumatic event
  • The person developed behavioral or mood disturbances
  • The person developed increased reactivity or arousal responses

In addition, the person has to either show that mental functioning has become extremely limited in one or markedly limited in two of the following:

  • Comprehension, memory or application of information
  • Interactions with others
  • Concentration, persistence or ability to maintain pace
  • Adaptation or management of himself or herself

Alternately, the person may show that he or she has a mental disorder in listing 12.15 that has been medically documented for two years or more, and there is evidence of the following: The person has received some form of ongoing medical attention that diminishes the effects of the mental disorder, and this has not improved the condition enough to adapt to environmental changes or demands beyond those of daily life.