Social Security Has New Mental Health Listing for PTSD

A Listing Level impairment is a condition that is bad enough to automatically be considered disabling without the need to consider the vocational factors of one’s age, education level, or prior job skills. Beginning January 17, 2017, Social Security will recognize Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as a separate Listing Level impairment at Step 3 in the decision making process. The newly created Listing 12.15 will be used to evaluate claims of disability related to trauma and stress related mental health conditions. Prior to the creation of this new and more specific Listing, PTSD sufferers were evaluated under the more general Depressive Disorder Listing.

In order to be found disabled as a result of Listing Level PTSD, the claimant will need to first show medical documentation of all of the following (known as Paragraph A requirements):

  1. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious bodily injury or violence;
  2. Subsequent involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event (for example, intrusive memories, dreams, or flashbacks);
  3. Avoidance of external reminders of the event;
  4. Disturbance in mood and behavior; and
  5. Increases in arousal and reactivity (for example, exaggerated startle response or sleep disturbance.

If the medical evidence of record shows all of the above, the claimant will need to also demonstrate an extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (known as Paragraph B requirements):

  1. The ability to understand, remember, or apply information;
  2. Interact with others;
  3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or
  4. Adapt or manage oneself.

In the alternative to showing the Paragraph B requirements, the claimant could show the PTSD has been in existence for over a period of 2 years, which is considered “serious and persistent” and requires medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or highly structured settings that is ongoing and diminishes the symptoms and signs of the mental disorder.

If you or a loved one suffer from PTSD and this has created sustained difficulty in being able to work full-time, the experienced disability attorneys of Syfrett, Dykes & Furr are available for a free consultation about your rights to disability benefits. Additionally, if your PTSD is related to service in the military, we can also evaluate the possibility of veteran disability benefits. Call (850) 795-4979.


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