PTSD and Medical-Vocational Allowances

By August 19, 2021 No Comments

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant mental disorder, but not one that’s always easily diagnosed. Because PTSD can arise through many situations, It’s tough to determine a potential Social Security Disability claim for those affected by severe cases. It’s important to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize severe cases as qualifying for benefits. This post discusses routes to approval and options if you are not initially approved.

How PTSD is Diagnosed

Usually, a diagnosis of PTSD is made by psychiatrists or psychologists based on mental exams and overall medical and mental history. A formal diagnosis by a mental health professional is essential for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to approve a PTSD claim.

Getting Social Security Disability for PTSD

PTSD disability claims are typically approved in one of two ways. The first route for approval is for individuals whose medical records satisfy the requirements of Social Security’s “impairment listing” on trauma- and stressor-related disorders. The second is through a “medical-vocational allowance,” which is actually how the majority of PTSD claims are approved.

Medical-Vocational Allowances for PTSD

Some more significant cases of PTSD can qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. If an applicant’s symptoms are severe enough to prevent full-time work, even though the applicant’s condition doesn’t meet the impairment listing for PTSD, he or she can qualify for benefits. For example, those enduring PTSD often have trouble concentrating, memory problems, and fatigue from poor sleep, all of which can interfere with the individual’s ability to work and maintain employment. PTSD can coincide with other mental disorders, and that’s also important to show through documentation and formal diagnosis when applying for benefits.

More information about the SSA’s description of qualifying PTSD can be found here.


If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and have been denied initial benefits, know that you have an advocate on your side. Applicants throughout the Willamette Valley trust Drew L. Johnson, P.C. with defending their right to SSI and SSDI benefits. Call (541) 434-6466 today to learn more.