Proving PTSD for Disability Benefits

September 30, 2015 | J. Price McNamara
Proving PTSD for Disability Benefits

If you went through a traumatic experience, whether in the military through combat missions or a motor vehicle accident, you might develop PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are experiencing symptoms, reach out to a mental health professional to support your psychological and mental well-being. Beyond that, however, you may require the assistance of an ERISA attorney to help you through the process of applying, and if necessary, appealing your application for group long-term disability insurance benefits. If your insurer approved your claim and later decided that you have recovered when the evidence shows you have not, a group disability insurance lawyer can help reinstate your benefits. Reach out to J. Price McNamara ERISA Insurance Claim Attorney now to discuss whether you qualify for long-term disability benefits for PTSD. Call us even if your group long-term disability insurance policy claims it doesn’t cover PTSD. Even if it doesn’t, it may cover some of the disabling symptoms or secondary effects of PTSD, from anxiety and depression to high blood pressure, fatigue, and pain. We will know what to look for in your policy and whether you qualify for benefits under its provisions.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is an abbreviation for post-traumatic stress disorder. As noted by the National Center for PTSD, a branch of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is a mental health issue that develops after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as a car accident, a natural disaster, a sexual assault, or combat. A very broad population of individuals can experience PTSD, including people who have gone through a wide range of experiences that could result in mental trauma. The life-threatening events you might experience or witness that can cause PTSD are:
  • Combat
  • Natural disasters
  • Sexual assaults
  • Car accidents
  • Other life-threatening incidents
If you have developed PTSD as a result of a car accident or a sexual assault, you may also have civil and/or criminal claims related to the incident. Report sexual assaults to the police so they can investigate the crime and refer it for prosecution. Many professionals can help support civil cases to recover damages from car accidents and sexual assaults, including civil attorneys like car accident lawyers, disability attorneys, and sexual assault lawyers. Such attorneys can help to best represent your case and maximize your related damages.

PTSD Symptoms and What to Look out for After Your Life-Threatening Experience

If you have gone through a life-threatening or traumatic experience, it is completely normal for you to have lingering feelings from the incident, including upsetting memories, feeling uneasy, having trouble sleeping, experiences of depression, and anxiety. What to look out for is the duration of the symptoms and how they are affecting your everyday life. If your feelings after the event hurt your day-to-day life and ability to function for longer than a few months, you may have developed PTSD. You can acquire disability benefits for long-term PTSD to cover you for the lost capacity to earn a living and live your life. Whether your symptoms indicate PTSD, or maybe something else, is difficult to determine. Reaching out to a mental health professional to explore your symptoms and the experience behind them is beneficial for your mental health and also for your long-term disability application, which a disability attorney can help you process with the greatest speed and efficiency.

Some People Mistake the Diverse Symptoms of PTSD for Other Issues

Understanding the symptoms of PTSD is an important first step in understanding whether what you are experiencing is, in fact, PTSD. Given that mental health conditions are often comorbid, meaning that they coexist and at times overlap, other conditions together may be individually diagnosed and not recognized as the collective symptoms of PTSD. Additionally, individuals don't want to explore their depression or other mental health issues, preferring to deal with them personally. Not only is this potentially bad for your overall mental health, it can lead to your missing out on benefits that you deserve as a policyholder. Reaching out to a mental health professional after going through a traumatic experience and/or are suffering mental health issues is suggested as your first move upon identifying symptoms. Next, an experienced long-term disability attorney can assist you in navigating the often complex process of receiving your benefits.

The Symptoms of PTSD Can Disrupt Your Daily Life and Regular Activities

Knowing whether you are simply experiencing a bout of momentary depression, or are in fact exhibiting the symptoms of PTSD, is based upon the impact on your daily life. PTSD makes it difficult for you to do normal daily activities, whether going to school, working, or spending time with friends and family. Thoughts of the traumatic experience may dominate your thinking by reliving the event, and also negatively impact your sleep through nightmares. The inability to live your regular daily life is difficult and the inability to work is costly. A disability attorney can help you compute the long-term costs associated with your PTSD, and if it stems from a car accident or other at-fault incident like a sexual assault, you may also be entitled to civil or even punitive damages for your injuries.

The Possible Delay of PTSD Symptoms

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs discusses that not all individuals who develop PTSD experience the symptoms immediately following the life-threatening event they witnessed or experienced. It is important to recognize that for some, PTSD symptoms begin immediately following the traumatic experience, and if they linger for more than two months, PTSD is likely. However, other individuals do not develop the symptoms of PTSD until some time after the traumatic or life-threatening event. This may be to their suppressing the related memories or having had the time to process their true significance. Whatever the cause, if you begin to demonstrate the symptoms of PTSD for longer than a few months, seeing a mental health professional to treat your PTSD not only helps your mental well-being, but also your long-term disability application for PTSD. An experienced disability lawyer can assess the facts concerning your situation and best apply them to your application to optimize your chances of success and maximize your benefits.

PTSD Is Especially Common Amongst Military Veterans With Combat Experience

Americans who have participated in active wars that have had combat experience are especially likely to develop PTSD. According to the National Center for PTSD, a part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, combat is one of the main causes of PTSD. For veterans who have experienced PTSD, the fact that aging veterans with wartime experiences from many years ago still can have PTSD from the experience. Even when a veteran served many years ago, the military experience can continue to impact their lives through ongoing PTSD and related symptoms. If you are a veteran who has the symptoms of PTSD, you may seek out mental health assistance from your local veterans’ hospital. You may have a long-term PTSD disability claim, and a disability attorney can help you process it.

Acquiring Long-Term PTSD Disability Benefits for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) presents the requirements for veterans to acquire long-term disability for their PTSD, which can be lengthy. For a veteran to collect on disability benefits for PTSD, the event must have happened during military service, you have difficulty functioning because of the symptoms, and a doctor has diagnosed you to have PTSD. The U.S. Veterans Administration considers a traumatic event to be the suffering of a serious injury, personal or sexual trauma, or sexual violation, or you faced threats of sexual assault, death, or injury. Only veterans have this type of disability benefit coverage from the V.A. The process of applying for disability benefits may require that you explain your experience and relive some of the events. The associated paperwork can also be lengthy and difficult to process, and if you’d like to take your mind off it, a disability attorney in your area can help.

You Can Experience PTSD From Any Traumatic Event, Including Accidents

You do not have to be a military veteran with combat experience to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. While many people associate the condition with veterans, car accidents and other traumatic events can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder. If you think you have developed symptoms of PTSD from a car accident, reach out to an ERISA attorney to discuss your options for receiving benefits for your symptoms and a mental health professional to support your well-being and diagnose you. The symptoms that might develop following a car accident, sexual assault, or another traumatic event can cause the development of PTSD, and you are entitled to damages for your loss of earning capacity and the impact on your relationships and mental health. Contact a group long-term disability insurance attorney today if you have developed PTSD from an accident or assault.

Depression Is Also a Condition for Which You Can Recover Damages and Disability Benefits

PTSD can impede your ability to live your everyday life following a traumatic experience. PTSD is a condition often characterized by many symptoms, and if you are only experiencing depression following a traumatic event, a diagnosis of PTSD may not be appropriate. However, you should never take depression lightly, as it can be just as impactful upon your daily life as PTSD, in that what you once would normally do is no longer a part of your life. Feelings of depression often manifest as a lack of motivation and feelings of overarching negativity. These feelings can make it difficult to get out of bed, to work, or socialize with your friends and family as you did before the trauma. These long-lasting effects can damage your life and earning ability and may entitle you to compensation. Talking with a disability or insurance attorney can help you understand your options.

If You Suffer Anxiety From an Accident, You May Qualify for Disability Benefits

Anxiety is a condition that medical professionals define as worrying that takes up your mental faculties and ability to perform normally or even to enjoy life. Symptoms of anxiety may stem from worries over future events or finances or can also emerge as a result of a traumatic experience. If you have developed anxiety following a traumatic experience or another injury, and it impairs your mental health and harms the way you live and work, you may qualify for benefits. A psychological disability is something that only mental health professionals can establish, so if you experience symptoms, you should visit one as soon as possible. Contacting an ERISA disability attorney after your accident will also help ensure that you collect the full compensation and damages that you deserve.

Experienced Lawyers Are Here to Help

Given that mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are increasingly common in the modern environment and also more impactful upon people’s day-to-day lives, lawyers have developed practices focused on advocating for your mental health and related rights. While in the past mental health conditions were not recognized as prospective sources of injury or disability, this is no longer the case. If you suffered injuries in a car accident or another traumatic experience and developed mental health conditions, you may seek damages specific to that injury. Long-term disability insurance lawyers have experience helping their clients collect damages from their disability and know how to evaluate the mental health damages they incurred. Attorneys without this experience may fail to identify such issues, and once you settle, you have settled, which could deny you compensation for long-term mental health injuries. Contacting a mental health and anxiety attorney to explore your condition helps support your claim and direct you through the steps to best treat it.

Contact J. Price McNamara ERISA Insurance Claim Attorney Today

If you have questions about collecting your long-term disability benefits for PTSD, or the damages associated with PTSD from an accident or traumatic incident you have experienced, contact us today today at (504) 420-6962 for a Free Denial Review. We assist clients with a wide range of disabilities and medical conditions from all over the country, and we can assist you.
J. Price McNamara Author Image

J. Price McNamara


Losing my own brother, then my father and sister after long, disabling illnesses just a few months apart drove a career change for me. Before that experience, I never truly understood the place you’re in. I never understood the dramatic impact that receiving (or not receiving) the disability and life insurance benefits you paid for and counted on can have on your life especially when you need to focus on family and healing. What I experienced with my own family now drives the way I view my clients and my work, and I will never forget it!

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