Certain illnesses have a strong association with specific professions. For example, black lung or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is strongly associated with those who work in mining. Similarly, many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with service in the military.

There is no question that military service members are often subject to unfortunate and traumatic circumstances during their service that leave them at increased risk for PTSD when compared with the civilian population. However, military members are far from the only people vulnerable to PTSD.

People from a variety of backgrounds and careers, including homemakers who don’t even have a profession outside the house, could potentially develop PTSD. In some cases, the condition will be serious and long-lasting enough to allow someone to qualify for disability benefits.

Who might develop PTSD beyond just soldiers?

PTSD often has nothing to do with someone’s line of work. People can experience many kinds of trauma, including witnessing a terrible act of violence, a car crash or a natural disaster. Spousal abuse and sexual assault are also common sources of PTSD, which may be part of the reason why women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Overall, it remains a common mental health disability, with estimates indicating that 3.5% of the population in the United States suffers from it at any given time. People who drive for a living, first responders, medical professionals and many others could develop PTSD because of something they experience at work. Countless others will develop this condition because of something that happens in their personal life.

Is PTSD a qualifying disability?

The Social Security Administration recognizes a broad range of conditions that can cause permanent and severe disability. They have an entire category of mental health conditions that may qualify someone for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Within that mental health category, there is even a subcategory for trauma-related conditions.

PTSD absolutely can be a qualifying condition, especially if people struggle with daily operations, interacting with other people and other basic tasks as a result of their PTSD. Documentation of treatment efforts and how the condition impacts your ability to work or care for yourself can improve chances of establishing PTSD as a significant disability.