Los Angeles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Attorney
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has received lots of attention over the last few years, particularly because of the number of veterans returning from overseas with the condition. While largely thought of as a wartime injury, it is possible for anyone to become afflicted with the condition. Persons who have been involved in natural disasters, like floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes, or have been involved in certain types of serious accidents, plane crashes, train accidents, horrific dog bites, or other animal attacks are all likely to suffer from symptoms of PTSD. Most PTSD sufferers have experienced a traumatic event that usually involves injury or death.
Post traumatic stress is marked by symptoms like recurring flashbacks, nightmares, hyper vigilance, irritability, “jumpiness” or being easily startled, an extreme fear of the event happening again, loss of sleep, and depression. Victims of violent crime, abuse, and accidents often report symptoms of PTSD for years following the event that caused it.
One of the most difficult parts of getting SSD benefits is completing the application. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for denying applications from individuals who actually qualify for benefits. The reason is because of the SSA’s strict application standards. A person claiming PTSD must include proof of the affliction in the application, and submitting wrong or inadequate proof can lead to a quick denial.
When PTSD impacts a person’s ability to work, the person may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. SSD benefits are awarded independently of any other benefit programs, so even veterans receiving or who have been denied compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs can qualify for separate SSD benefits.
If you suffer from PTSD, you may qualify for Social Security disability but to ensure your Los Angeles claim is successful the diagnosis must be properly medically documented. The Social Security Administration will want to review your medical records, including hospital records and clinic notes from physicians, therapists, and counselors. It will need to be proven that there are work-related limitations caused by your PTSD. You must have medically documented evidence of one of the following:
– severe distress from recurrent, intrusive memories of a trauma
– general anxiety that persists
– irrational fears
– frequent panic attacks
– persistent obsessions and compulsions
You may be able to qualify under the Social Security Administration’s listing for anxiety-related disorders. However, you must be able to establish that you suffer from severe anxiety, and that this makes it difficult for you to live a normal life. Merely suffering from frequent nightmares, or feeling depressed, may not be sufficient.
You must also prove that there is a marked limitation in daily living, social functioning, or concentration, persistence, or pace or that your symptoms leave you completely unable to function independently outside your home. Unfortunately, most Social Security Disability (SSDI/SSD) and SSI claims are denied at the initial claim and reconsideration levels so most claims will need to go in front of an administrative law judge.
You may also qualify for a medical-vocational allowance which means that your claim is approved because the agency finds that your condition makes it difficult for you to work and earn a living. It is important that your symptoms of PTSD be severe, and you frequently suffer from anxiety, concentration problems, memory problems, and other issues that affect your ability to work and be productive.
At this point, having a Los Angeles disability lawyer present can really help you win your claim. There are no guarantees but history has proven more cases win at this level when a lawyer is there. This is because a Social Security lawyer can guarantee that a case will be properly “developed” prior to a hearing date. It is that development that will get your claim won.
IF YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED
Most disability claims are denied initially and most times it just doesn’t seem fair but it is part of the grueling process. The Social Security Administration is known for excruciatingly long appeals processes. If your SS is denied, terminated, or modified, you have the right to appeal the decision. This is when you should call an experienced Los Angeles PTSD attorney.
The lengthy appeals process has four separate stages and each one has its own rules. There is the reconsideration level, a hearing before an administrative law judge, a review by the SSA Appeals Council, and filing a claim in federal court. It is a good idea to have a skilled lawyer during these various levels. You do have the right to retain an experienced Los Angeles PTSD attorney.
One factor you may want to pay special attention to is the very strict deadlines that SSA has. One late document and it could set your case back, so you never want to miss one. Usually, you will have 60 days to file for review and the clock starts ticking the day you receive your notice. In fact, filing any late forms can result in your case being dismissed.
An attorney can request reconsideration, where a new evaluator will examine the case and the original application. All existing and new evidence will be examined too. If that process doesn’t go so well then your lawyer will request a hearing before an administrative law judge. You and your attorney will have to be present for this hearing.
AN EXPERIENCED LOS ANGELES POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER ATTORNEY
Los Angeles PTSD attorney Tony Adderley has been helping individuals with PTSD get the benefits that they are entitled to from the SSA for several years. He and his legal team can help clients even if they have already been denied for coverage. In many cases, it is just a matter of submitting the proper evidence that stands between a person and his or her benefits. Tony Adderley will review all of his clients’ paperwork and application forms to ensure the application package has the best chance of being approved as possible, and will represent his clients through the appeals process as needed.