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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Disability Insurance Benefits Claim

Disability insurance carriers often deny the limitations caused by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). How can disability insurance attorneys Dell & Schaefer assist you with a PTSD claim for disability benefits?

As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In many of the PTSD claims we handled we often see disability carriers attempt to deny a PTSD claim based upon the act of war exclusion in most disability insurance policies.

It is not unusual for a person disabled by PTSD to become unable to work many months or even years after the traumatic event that contributes to the PTSD diagnosis. As a result, many disability insurance companies will wrongfully argue that there is nothing wrong with you since you have been able to work for so many months or years after your traumatic event. For example, our firm represents numerous 9/11 World Trade Center survivors that attempted to work for several months or even years after the 9/11 attacks. Most of the 9/11 claimants we represent continue to have significant limitations and restrictions as a result of PTSD.

Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person suffering with post traumatic stress disorder must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Not everyone suffering from post traumatic stress disorder qualifies for long-term disability benefits; therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that’s triggered by a traumatic event.

Many people who are involved in traumatic events have a brief period of difficulty adjusting and coping. Normally with time and healthy coping methods, these traumatic reactions usually improve. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. In these cases, a person may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent PTSD from becoming a long-term condition.

Researchers are still trying to better understand what causes someone to get post-traumatic stress disorder. As with most mental illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder is probably caused by a complex mix of an inherited predisposition to psychiatric illness, the amount and severity of trauma a person has experienced and the way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones releases in response to stress.

People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 7.7 million Americans, aged 18 and older suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is especially common among those who have served in combat, and it’s sometimes called “shell shock,” “battle fatigue” or “combat stress.”

Women are four times more likely than men to develop PTSD. Experts believe this is because women are at increased risk of experiencing the kinds of interpersonal violence, such as sexual violence, which can lead to PTSD.

People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 7.7 million Americans, aged 18 and older suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is especially common among those who have served in combat, and it’s sometimes called “shell shock,” “battle fatigue” or “combat stress.”

Women are four times more likely than men to develop PTSD. Experts believe this is because women are at increased risk of experiencing the kinds of interpersonal violence, such as sexual violence, which can lead to PTSD.

Other traumatic events also can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, including fire, natural disaster, mugging, robbery, assault, civil conflict, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, terrorist attack and other extreme or life-threatening events.

How the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect you

Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life: your job, your relationships and even your enjoyment of everyday activities.

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are commonly grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include flashbacks in which a person may relive the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time or have recurring nightmares of the event.

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include trying to avoid thinking of the traumatic event, feeling emotionally numb, avoiding activities previously enjoyed, a sense of hopelessness, memory and concentration problems and difficulty maintaining close relationships.

Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include increased irritability or anger, overwhelming guilt or shame, self destructive behavior (such as alcoholism or drug addiction), insomnia, and being easily startled or frightened. Having PTSD also may place you at a higher risk of other mental health problems, such as depression, drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts and actions. In most disability claims we have handled a person suffering with PTSD usually is suffering with either depression or anxiety at the same time.

In addition, studies of war veterans who suffer from PTSD have demonstrated a link between PTSD and the development of medical illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases and musculoskeletal conditions.

Types of treatment for post traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment often includes both medications and psychotherapy. This combined approach can help improve your symptoms and teach you skills to cope better with the traumatic event and its aftermath.

Treatment may include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD and trauma involves carefully and gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. Therapy also involves identifying upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event and replacing them with more balanced picture.

Another type of therapy is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation, such as hand taps or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation are thought to work by “unfreezing” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress, leaving only frozen emotional fragments which retain their original intensity. Once EMDR frees these fragments of the trauma, they can be integrated into a cohesive memory and processed.

Since PTSD affects both you and those closest to you, family therapy can be especially beneficial. Family therapy can help loved ones understand what you’re going through and help everyone in the family communicate better and work through relationship problems.

Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety, but it does not treat the causes of PTSD.


There are many valuable sources of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:

There are numerous charities dedicated to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research, detection and treatment including Anxiety Disorders Association of America

There are 15 opinions so far. Add your comment now.


I was robbed and attacked a few months ago during the day. I sustained a grade 3 concussion and am dealing with PTSD. I was taken out of work for this as I can’t work as a nurse with a head injury. I want to go back to work desperately and am trying to get my PTSD therapy to help me return to work. This leaves me with self esteem issues etc. A substantial reduction in pay leaves me with no wiggle room. I am receiving STD and just starting LTD through my work.

I have been reviewing your posts. Shocked to hear disability companies have us under surveillance as they do. If they were to surveill me, I can’t imagine what they are looking for. I rarely leave the house due to the PTSD and have to carry notes with me do I don’t forget what I went out to get. What could they possibly use against me? It’s just me going out on short trips and quickly. Head injuries are invisible injuries. Is there anything I should know about or be aware of? Just creeps me out hearing about surveillance. I certainly understand it with a fair amount of scammers out there, but how would they discern a head injury/concussion patient? I can sit on the ground and work in my garden, ride my lawn tractor to cut my grass and even shovel snow, but venturing out of my safety zone is terrifying for me. Any advice for the invisible wounds and surveillance? I would not hesitate to call the police if I felt unsafe as some of the postings indicated.

Thank you.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Unfortunately, the number of hypothetical situations of what the carrier may capture on surveillance is too great to really comment on. There stands a chance they may never place you under surveillance.

Scott Mines:

I suffer from PTSD. The cause of my disability is a result of 9/11 for I was in tower 1 on that day. I would like to talk to you about how I may receive disability benefits.

Scott Mines

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Do you have disability insurance coverage through an individually purchased or employer provided disability insurance policy? If not, your only option may be to file for Social Security disability.


I was on Unum for 12 years and just denied my claim saying it is a mental condition. I have been to the doc and they said I have PTSD and bi polar because of it. Can I appeal the case?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Greta, you would certainly have the right to appeal the denial! It is incredible that after 12 years Unum would give you a “clean bill of health” to return to work. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail and how we can assist you in appealing the denial.

E. Rubie:

I retired 3 years ago from a 25 years career as a Correctional Officer. I endured violence on a daily basis. I see a psychiatrist who precribes medicine for my symptoms. Diability denied my claim. In order to pay for additional therapy that I need, I need disability to afford my co-payments and prescriptions. What can I do to appeal?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

E. Rubie, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your disability denial and what your options are in appealing the decision.

Curtis D.:

I am a DoD civilian firefighter and I am also an Iraq War veteran. I recently filed for long term disability benefits due to my PTSD through my union sponsored LTD plan with Reliance Standard Insurance. I was denied benefits due to the “acts of war clause” in the policy. Is this something in which you could possibly represent me?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Curtis, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim. We have in the past been successful in getting around that provision, but each case is very fact specific. We may not ultimately be able to assist you, but are certainly willing to review your claim to see what can be done.


I’m a Iraqi veteran suffering with PTSD and chronic pain along with substance abuse lately due to re occurring guilt episodes. I’m going insane trying to file for LTD only to be reassured that the acts of war clause prevents me from any legitimate claim. It is a disservice to vets who fought for this great country to have to deal with this nonsense.


My claim is about to be converted from a physical condition to PTSD after 2 years on ltd. it’s in review as we speak. I’m concerned it might be cancelled because act of war. They keep informing me that I’ll have to pay them back once it’s approved in social security. My social security should be approved in the next few months to take over for the insurance. It kind of makes me a little more anxious than normal.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Mark, it is highly unusual that your claim for disability would transition from a physical condition to a mental health condition unless your doctors are giving you a clean bill of health from a physical perspective. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.


Hi. I have ptsd due to 12 years in an abusive marriage. I work in an open office environment with over 50 people, there are many things people do that cause triggers within me. I went many years and held it in and I feel I can’t anymore as I spoke up now I had to take fmla and applied for std through Unum for ptsd. I am fearful of retaliation and I work at a mental health clinic that is not supporting my dr request to have me work from home. I am still waiting to hear back from Unum if std will be approved.

Attorney Cesar Gavidia:


I am sorry to hear about your recent struggles with PTSD. You have taken the correct course of action by applying for short-term disability. Although the disability insurance claim process can sometimes be a challenge to navigate, if Unum denies your STD claim, you should reach out to us to discuss your options. Also, should your STD be approved and you are not recovered and back to work prior to the expiration of your STD claim, which is typically 26 weeks, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your options with regards to long-term disability.

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