• PTSD Long Term Disability Insurance Claim Information

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

Recently Resolved Cases (11)

Cases & Claim Tips (11)

Comments (29)

  • Kimberly, I am sorry to hear of what you went through throughout your life. While PTSD does not have any “objective evidence” such as a blood test to prove such, we do have great success getting our clients on claim when they suffer from Mental Health Issues. Please contact us to discuss your claim and we will gladly give you our thoughts and assist you any way that we can.

    Alex Palamara Dec 29, 2019  #29

  • I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD due to different forms of abuse throughout my life. Is this condition as difficult to be approved as PTSD?

    Kimberly Dec 28, 2019  #28

  • Louise, do you have a disability insurance policy from the county/employer? If so an application for benefits would be made under same. If not, Social Security may be the only option for disability. Additionally, as the issue is stemming from a workplace event have you explored worker’s compensation?

    Stephen Jessup Oct 25, 2018  #27

  • I am a correctional officer as well as a crisis negotiator in a jail. A year ago I was punch in the face and knock down by an inmate. I was diagnosed wiTh extreme PTSD, panic attacks and anxiety. I have now been sent to a treatment center however I feel as if I am getting worse instead of better. I struggle everyday with throwing up, night sweats,flashbacks, nightmares, on guard all the time, zoning out {afraid to drive almost been in numerous accidents}. I have disowned all my friends and find it extremely hard to function on a daily basis. I do pay into life insurance through the dept of justice. Who decides if you go on long term disability? And how do you go about it? I am from a northern community of a population of approx 2600,00 people therefore I cannot go anywhere without running into ex criminals therefore I do Northwest leave my house as I am terrified. The inmate who assulted me is now out of jail and I have regressed back to last year.

    Louise Oct 24, 2018  #26

  • Roy, I am really sorry to hear about all the troubles you have gone through and hope that life gets better for you. Unfortunately, it is very likely that your LTD policy with Guardian only covers a mental nervous condition for 24 months. Often employers are not aware that the policy they purchased for their employees contains this limitation and should explain it to them before they go out of work. The only way around it is if you have a disabling condition caused by a physical issue that is preventing you from working. You should contact you employer and ask for a copy of your LTD policy so you can confirm whether there is a 24 months limitation for mental nervous conditions. If there is there is nothing you can do when it comes to Guardian.

    Rachel Alters Sep 13, 2018  #25

  • I have complex PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and substance abuse which resulted from the PTSD. My PTSD developed from numerous events that built upon one another. I was raped and molested as a child for 10 years (6 to 16), tried to commit suicide at age 16, was in a physically abusive relationship for 7 years, was a 9/11 victim (was next to building 7 when it fell and lived in lower Manhattan 3 blocks from the tower before and after the attack and displaced for 6 weeks after one week after the attack), was in Hurricane Irene in NJ, and Hurricane Sandy in Manhattan (was displaced for 5 weeks after the Hurricane), mentally abused by my employer, my therapist and a general contractor.

    I went STD on January 1st 2017 and on on LTD on July 1st 2017 and lost my job when I went on LTD. My employer told me, before I went out on STD, that my disability insurance would last until 65 or no longer disabled. I have an email from them stating this. My employer knew that I was going to be on disability for PTSD and substance abuse. Guardian informed me this past July that my coverage was only for 24 months and that my coverage would end on June 30, 2019. I have been seeing a therapist 2 times a week and a psychiatrist once a month. They do not see me returning to work anytime soon. Every time we have tried to do EMDR therapy there have been set backs from me getting better.

    What can I do since I was told one thing by my employer and something different by Guardian?

    Roy Sep 12, 2018  #24

  • Cheryl, if your original claim was filed under a group disability policy through your employer you have likely gone beyond the applicable deadlines to take any action on that denial. If it was under Social Security Disability, I suggest you contact an SSDI attorney in your area to see if they can help. You may be able to file a new SSDI claim but unless you have a group policy through your part-time employment that provides coverage, SSDI (or state disability benefits if you live in a state that offers such benefits) would likely be the only avenue you could explore at this time.

    Jay Symonds May 3, 2018  #23

  • The therapist I was going to tried to get me on disability 3 years ago because of domestic violence, for PTSD, I was denied. I tried going back to work, in a variety of different jobs. I do work part time and only make about 10,000 a yr. gross, so I go to school online to compensation to make up the difference. I know I’ll probably won’t ever use this degree I’ve been working at, because of the PTSD. I was in sales, I can’t do it anymore, and was laid off from a company because of it. I don’t know what do? I’ve been considering trying to apply for disability again now that I’m over 50. I don’t go to therapy anymore, I can’t afford it, nor do I want to talk about it, or take medications with terrible side effects. It’s been three years, I’m not better and I’m struggling to survive. I don’t know what to do.

    Cheryl May 2, 2018  #22

  • Pete,

    You need to make sure you are treating with the proper physician, a psychiatrist and/or psychologist and make sure they are documenting the issues you are having. If you would like a free consultation you can contact my office and ask for me. I would be able to discuss your potential disability claim with you. My contact number is 888-729-3355. Ask for attorney Rachel Alters.

    Rachel Alters Apr 17, 2018  #21

  • Hi.

    I’ve been thru war 25 years ago. I was ok until few years ago when I started to feel anxiety symptoms which caused physical symptoms (chest pain, short of breath, terrible migraines, sleeplessness…). I feel very easily irritated, I have zero tolerance fro stress which scares me a lot. I saw couple of different counselors but they didn’t help at all. Only I was told it’s combination of PTSD, anxiety and depression. I was prescribed Zoloft as well.

    I feel anxiety and panic attack periodically, every few months now and I have no tolerance for stress any more, not at all. Even someone’s comment at work create my headache, I start to shake and it progress to anxiety. I’m scare I’ll explode and do or say something that will jeopardize my job.

    I’m thinking of short term disability. What should I do?

    Thank you

    Pete Apr 16, 2018  #20

  • Mike, we are very sorry to hear of your losses. Our thoughts are with you. With regards to your potential claims, if you can file both claims it is likely advisable to do so. Short term claims are usually limited to 13 or 26 weeks. The reason why it is always ideal to file for Long Term Disability sooner rather than later is that you don’t want a time period where they are no benefits coming in once Short Term Disability runs out but before Long Term is approved. Regarding PTSD, it is likely that your condition is covered under the policy. Whether you are approved depends on the specific facts of your case that will be found in the records of your treating providers. Please be aware that most group Long Term Disability policies limit recovery due to mental health claims to a total of 24 months of benefits. Should you desire a free consultation or should you have any issues with your claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Alex Palamara Mar 27, 2018  #19

  • I have just been diagnosed with PTSD from the death of two daughters in a very short time. I have Unum short term and long term disability. First question is do I file short term and long term disability at the same time? Second question does Unum usually cover ptsd?

    Mike Mar 26, 2018  #18

  • Adrian,

    Aetna can stop paying you if they find that you no longer meet the terms of the policy. It is normal for them to perform periodic reviews and their review does not necessarily mean they will cut off your benefits. If they do deny your claim please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your options.

    Victor Pena Mar 3, 2018  #17

  • Aetna approved me for std with fedex for 6 months. I’m in my 4th month and they are reviewing it again because my ptsd dr. saying it may go Ltd for ptsd. I’m a war vet. Can they stop paying me?

    Adrian Mar 2, 2018  #16

  • Elma,

    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.

    Cesar Gavidia Feb 11, 2018  #15

  • 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.

    Elma Feb 10, 2018  #14

  • 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.

    Stephen Jessup Aug 21, 2017  #13

  • 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.

    Mark Aug 17, 2017  #12

  • 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.

    Travis Aug 14, 2017  #11

  • 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.

    Stephen Jessup Jun 30, 2017  #10

  • 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?

    Curtis D. Jun 28, 2017  #9

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

    Stephen Jessup May 23, 2017  #8

  • 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?

    E. Rubie May 20, 2017  #7

  • 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.

    Stephen Jessup Apr 4, 2017  #6

  • 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?

    Greta Mar 29, 2017  #5

  • Scott,

    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.

    Stephen Jessup Aug 29, 2015  #4

  • 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

    Scott Mines Aug 28, 2015  #3

  • Concussed,

    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.

    Stephen Jessup Dec 18, 2014  #2

  • 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.

    Concussed Dec 17, 2014  #1

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Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

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In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

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No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

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When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

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It was a pleasure to have had Attorney Jessup and his Assistant Kathy Bordas as my legal Counsel in my LTD case. From the very first phone call that I had with Attorney Jessup he showed me respect as well they listened to everything that I had say. They showed me that there was so body out there that was gonna fight for me and not through the case to the side. Every step of the process your law firm kept me in the loop and gave me options as to what the possible outcomes will be. Attorney Jessup and Kathy Bordas showed true professionalism during the whole process. They where able to get the insurance company to see my side and hopefully see the pain that I am in every day. Your firm was has given myself and my family some hope and happiness again. From my family to Attorney Jessup, Kathy Bordas we Thank You and God Bless.

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