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Can a traumatic event lead to a disabling mental impairment?

There are whole fields of medicine that focus on the study of how people develop mental impairments. There are so many different mental impairments that it can be hard to understand them all, but the medical community's knowledge of mental impairments is increasing all the time. One connection that has been made is the development of a mental impairment due to experiencing a traumatic event. Our Los Angeles readers may be wondering, can such a traumatic event spawn a mental impairment that is considered a disability for the purposes of qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

The answer, in general, is probably yes. For instance, the United States military has recognized that some service members have suffered from military sexual trauma, or MST. While suffering from an event that could be considered MST is not in and of itself disabling, any associated mental impairment, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that arises from the MST could lead to an individual qualifying as disabled.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental impairment that can leave people in such a state that they are completely unable to work. This is one of the qualifying conditions that must be met in order to receive SSD benefits.

There are many other traumatic events that could lead to the onset of PTSD, or even some other types of mental impairments. A Los Angeles resident who is submitting an application for SDD benefits based on a mental impairment will need to provide extensive documentation regarding the diagnosis, duration and treatment of the condition.

Source: benefits.va.gov, "Disability Compensation - Military Sexual Trauma," Accessed Feb. 26, 2016

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