January 2020

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PTSD Disability Claims May Be Difficult to Prove


PTSD Disability Claims May Be Difficult to Prove

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by a traumatic event. According to the National Center of Mental Health, PTSD can occur when a person experiences a frightening incident where they are physically harmed or felt the threat of physical harm. It can also occur if the person witnesses a harmful incident where someone, even someone they don’t know, was seriously injured or killed.

Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the experience over and over in the form of flashbacks, frightening thoughts, or bad dreams. A PTSD sufferer may also develop “avoidance” symptoms, where they stay away from places or things that will remind them of the trauma. They may also have difficulty remembering details of the traumatic event and suffer from feelings of worry, guilt, and depression. Many people who suffer from PTSD also have trouble sleeping and are often very easily startled. They may also struggle with anger issues.

PTSD does not just affect those who have served in combat. The disorder can affect anyone who has suffered a traumatic event. Victims of childhood abuse, rape, violence, or even a traumatic natural disaster — like a fire or a hurricane — can develop PTSD. The diagnosis of PTSD is can be a difficult one. Symptoms that could totally disable one person may not have any impact on someone else.

It is because of that difficulty to diagnose PTSD, as with many other mental health illnesses, that it can be very difficult to get approval from Social Security for a disability claim. The initial claims are often rejected by the agency and the claimant is forced to file an appeal.

Some of the issues that PTSD victims struggle with include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide

Victims with PTSD can also suffer from physical conditions, including chronic pain, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Avoiding activities
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty or inability in maintaining close relationships
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event
  • Having trouble with memory
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations

Call a Social Security Disability Attorney for Help
If you are suffering from PTSD or any other mental illness, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, many applicants find the process of applying for benefits complex and frustrating, since many are denied upon their first application.

A qualified social security disability lawyer, like a social security disability lawyer in Wise, VA, can help you present your case to Social Security and, if they still ignore you, appeal to the appropriate court. Even if you have already been denied benefits, our firm may be able to help. Contact an attorney to speak with someone about your case today.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into PTSD claims for social security benefits. 

Bribery Laws in Colorado: The Rundown


In any situation with high stakes, there’s the potential for bribery. Parents, for example, can end up in trouble over a concern anyone responsible for a child shares: getting their children in a top school. This is the subject of a recent high-profile college bribery admissions scandal that included celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

Bribery charges at any level are serious, so if you or someone you know has been accused of bribery, it makes sense to learn more about what you could be facing and speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as possible.

The Elements of Bribery in Colorado

To be convicted of bribery, the prosecutor has to prove that you gave, received or solicited something that had value so you could influence an official to do something you wanted in the course of their public duties. According to the law, a bribery attempt that wasn’t successful is still a criminal offense; just the attempt alone is a crime.

The prosecutor also must establish that you had corrupt intentions. This means that your intention was to give or receive some sort of special benefit in return for something of value.

State Bribery Charges

In Colorado, there is a distinction made between the bribery of a public official and the bribery of another type of official, such as someone working for a commercial entity. Government official bribery is a Class 3 felony, carrying a sentence of four to 12 years in prison and a fine ranging from $3,000 to $750,000. Bribing a non-governmental official is a Class 6 felony, which can bring a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000.

If the offense allegation involves other fraud forms, you can be charged with fraud charges in addition to the ones for bribery. Sometimes, fraud may be the only charges brought because it can be easier to prosecute for fraud than bribery in some situations.

Federal Bribery Charges

In certain circumstances, such as when the bribery is committed by the mail or over the web—involving more than one state—or takes place across state lines, it may be prosecuted at the federal level. If the allegation involves a financial or governmental institution, the case may draw the attention of federal officials as well.

If you or someone you know are facing federal bribery charges, speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as you can. Federal agencies have more investigating power, and federal bribery charges tend to carry harsher sentences than they do at the state level, such as 15 years in prison for each count of bribery and substantial fines.

In general, any bribery charge is serious, whether at the state or federal level. Large fines and jail time will have an impact on your personal, financial and work lives now and in the future. Don’t leave anything to chance if you are facing charges of bribery. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible so your rights are fully protected from the start.

Thank you to the experts at Richard Banta, P.C. for their input into insurance fraud.