January 18, 2020

The Listing Strategy

How to Win Your PTSD Disability Case Using the Listing Argument

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD as it is more commonly called, can be and oftentimes is a very disabling medical condition that currently affects many individuals and impacts the lives of those around them. It creates a serious disruption in a person’s life to the extent that they cannot perform any type of job, even if it is a simple, entry level job. PTSD usually results from one of the following events:

  • war and other military events
  • rape or sexual assault
  • physical abuse
  • living through a traumatic event (or just witnessing one)
  • a hurricane (or other natural disaster)
  • a bad accident

The problems which can arise from the onset of PTSD

In regards to the prior section above, there are a number of problems for the individual who is suffering with PTSD that can arise after the onset of the condition. These include:

  • recurring nightmares about the event which creates difficulty sleeping
  • “flashbacks” or feelings that the event is occurring again
  • guilt, sadness, and worry
  • feeling helpless and alone
  • frequent uncontrollable and angry outbursts

Winning a PTSD disability case using the Listing Argument

The “Listing” argument can be used to win your SSDI claim.  Social Security’s listings describe extremely severe medical or mental health issues that SSA considers automatically disabling because of their seriousness.

Listing level impairments include such things as:

  • amputated leg
  • heart functioning at 20%
  • liver disease that requires a transplant
  • kidney disease that requires dialysis
  • full blown AIDs

There is a listing for PTSD – it can be found at Listing 12.15.  Listing 12.15 is very difficult to meet because it requires extreme impairments in areas of functioning including:

  • understanding, remembering and applying information;
  • interacting appropriately with co-workers, supervisors and the general public
  • maintaining attention, concentration
  • sustaining appropriate pace of work
  • behaving in an emotionally stable manner

Again, these limitations may be present in many PTSD patients but in order to meet the listing, the level of impairment must be extremely severe.

If you have a long time treating psychologist and/or psychiatrist whose medical records reflect a severe level of impairment and who would be willing to go on record to state that you meet or equal Listing 12.15, then the listing approach could be a viable approach.

Remember that you can still win even if you are not quite at listing level, but Listing 12.15 is certainly a good place to start.