Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Can You Get Disability For Drug Addiction

What About Disability Applicants Living In Legalization States

Can alcoholics and drug addicts get a Social Security benefit for disability?

Now, you might wonder whether legal marijuana use hurts your chances for getting disability benefits in one of these states:

  • Alaska
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.

The fact is, you do not have to pass a drug test in order to qualify for Social Security disability. Whether in states listed above or where medical marijuana is legal, it likely wont impact your claim. Worried that people addicted to marijuana in these states can now draw SSD benefits because theyre too lazy to work? A recent study found the SSA receives about 2.4 more disability claims for every 10,000 eligible adults in those states. About 576 more people applied for disability benefits the year after Colorado legalized recreational use than in the previous year. However, the number of average approved claims did not go up in those states once recreational use became legal.

What Is Samhsas National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Also visit the online treatment locators.

Social Security Disability Benefits For Drug & Alcohol Addiction In Louisiana

Alcohol and drug addiction are prevalent throughout our society, not just in New Orleans as some would have us believe. As a social security disability attorney, I am often asked how people with drug or alcohol addiction are able to get disability benefits. I have also been asked whether having a drug addiction or being an alcoholic can prevent someone from getting disability benefits.

In response, I tell them that Congress does not allow your social security tax dollars to be given to those who cannot work solely because of alcoholism or drug addiction. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. ยง423 provides:

An individual shall not be considered to be disabled for purposes of this title if alcoholism or drug addiction would be a contributing factor material to the Commissioners determination that the individual is disabled.

So, basically, if a persons only impairment or disability is the addiction, they cannot be awarded benefits. Also, if the addiction is a material contributing factor to their disability, Congress has declared that such persons should not get disability benefits.

Social Security rules basically say that if a person was to stop drinking or abusing drugs, but the disabling condition would continue, they could get benefits. For example, if an alcoholic developed cirrhosis of the liver due to years of drinking and stopped drinking, the cirrhosis could still be used as a basis to award disability, if sufficiently disabling.

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Substance Abuse And Addiction

Can A Disabled Person Become Addicted To Opioids

Once a disabled individual develops an addiction to prescription opioids, they will often end up switching over to cheaper and more readily available drugs such as heroin when their prescription runs out. This risk is heightened among the disabled, who are often under greater mobility and financial restrictions than the general population.

Will The Impairment Improve Without Alcohol Or Drugs

Can You Get Social Security Disability for Drug or Alcohol ...

The SSA will ask the question, “If the claimant quits drinking or using drugs, will the claimant’s medical condition improve?” To use an example, if a claimant has seizures, and the records indicate substance abuse, a claims examiner or judge will question what role is played by the claimant’s use of substances. If the SSA thinks that a claimant’s seizure condition would medically improve if the substance use or abuse came to an end, then the substance use or abuse would be labeled as material to the seizure condition. As a result, the claimant could not be awarded benefits on the basis of seizure disorder. If, however, the conclusion was made that the claimant’s frequency of seizures would continue regardless of whether or not the alcohol or drug use was discontinued, such use would be considered immaterialin other words, irrelevant.

Read Also: What Is In Alcohol That Makes It Addictive

Assessing Drug Or Alcohol Use

Before considering whether drug or alcohol use is material to a disability claim, Social Security must have medical evidence that the person has a substance dependency, addiction, “compulsory dependency,” abuse or use disorder. For Social Security purposes, these terms all mean the same thing.

The use of alcohol or drugs is not necessarily drug addiction. When Social Security makes a drug addiction or alcohol determination, the important factor is whether a person has a pattern of repeatedly using drugs in a dysfunctional wayin other words, whether the drug use is causing a disruption of work, family life, social activities, and/or physical damage. That is a medical judgment that the Social Security Administration makes. Depending on the quality of evidence available from an applicant’s medical records, Social Security may order an additional mental examination to determine whether there is a drug or alcohol addiction.

The SSA does not have to establish a drug or alcohol addiction by any specific criteria, such as those in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Whether a person’s drug use is “addictive,” a free choice, legal, illegal, or involves a prescribed drug, is not relevant to Social Security’s determination of whether drug addiction or alcoholism is present.

Addiction As A Cause Of Disability

Addiction is a major contributing factor in the development of many disabilities. Individuals under the influence are substantially more likely to suffer serious injury that can cause disability, such as from a fall or a car accident. Substance abuse also worsens the symptoms of many mental and intellectual disorders, leading to more severe episodes and greater disability. Intravenous drug use is a major avenue through which a number of diseases that cause disability spread, as are high-risk sexual practices that are more likely due to substance abuse. Additionally, the long-term abuse of many substances can cause both disabilities and conditions that cause disability. Examples include:

  • Certain forms of alcohol can cause blindness
  • Long-term alcohol use can cause hepatitis
  • Inhalant use can cause nerve damage
  • Long-term Marijuana smoking can cause lung damage

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With just 30 days at a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.

Also Check: Can You Become Addicted To Gabapentin

Can The Ssa Deny A Disability Claim Because Of Drug Addiction

While the damage caused by substance addiction can qualify you for disability benefits, there are also situations where your claim could be denied because of drug abuse. Under DI 90070.050 , the SSA very clearly states the following:

We do not consider a claimant disabled if drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination that the claimant is disabled.

The SSA uses a six-step evaluation process to determine whether DAA is material to a claim. DAA is not material if the claimant would be considered disabled even if drug addiction was not a factor. But if DAA is material, meaning the claimant would not be disabled without the drug addiction, the claim will be denied.

Note that the SSA excludes caffeine addiction and nicotine addiction from its definition of DAA, so drinking coffee or smoking cigarettes wont necessarily rule out your application.

Disability Benefits For Veterans

Can You Claim Long Term Disability For Addiction – 24/7 Helpline Call 1(800) 615-1067

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.

You may get social assistance payments from:

  • your province or territory
  • your First Nation

These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.

You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:

  • medications
  • medical aids or devices

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Q: Will My Documented Drug Dependence Affect My Ssdi Claim

If you have a documented drug dependence this can definitely add a layer of complication to your SSDI claim, but this does not necessarily mean you will not be able to receive benefits. Social Security isn’t going to see the drug use and automatically deny you because they understand drugs can play a variety of roles when it comes to a person’s disability.

First of all, if your only alleged disability is a drug or alcohol addiction, you will not be able to receive disability benefits. While an addiction can certainly disable someone, the Social Security Administration does not grant SSDI benefits based solely on addiction.

If you do have another disability, in addition to a drug or alcohol dependence, the SSA will look at that disability first. In the event your disability is one that would be approved for benefits, the SSA will then look at your addiction and how it contributes to your disability. They’re going to ask themselves, “Would this person still be suffering from this disability if it were not for their addiction to drugs or alcohol?” If the answer is yes, then you should have no problem being approved.

Every SSDI case is different, so none of this information should be taken as professional legal advice. This is simply what could happen in certain situations involving SSDI benefits and drug or alcohol addictions.

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Social Security Disability And Drug Addiction: Interactions And Implications

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Many people think that drug addiction and social security benefits dont go together. For the most part, this is true. However, the heart of the matter is much more complex. If you or a loved one suffer from a drug addiction, dont lose hope just yet. There is still a chance you or they may qualify and not be denied social security disability benefits. Social Security Disability Benefits USA is here with the key points that you need to know.

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Case Law And Scientific Evidence Of Mental Health Conditions Correlated With Substance Abuse Disorders

Imagine a veteran with service-connected diabetes whose diabetes led to the amputation of his foot. It would seem absurd for the VA to deny his claim. However, many veterans with service-connected mental health issues are routinely denied service-connection to disabilities secondary to substance abuse. Not only has substance abuse been clinically and scientifically seen as a symptom of mental illness for many years, but when the VA rejects these claims, they are breaking their own rules.

Studies show, of VA patients with mental illness, around 21 to 35% also have co-occurring substance abuse disorders. While the rate of substance abuse varies from diagnosis to diagnosis , there is an increase in substance abuse with most mental illnesses.

In 2001, the Federal Circuit heard the case of Allen v. Principi, where a veteran with PTSD was fighting for an increased rating for his PTSD, due to the effects of his substance abuse socially and occupationally. The VA responded that substance abuse could NOT be service-connected, either as a primary disability or as secondary to mental illness. However, the court found that the law:

There are many disabilities that can be caused by substance abuse, and there can be damage to many parts of the body.

Can A Veteran Get Service Connected If They Have A Problem With Substance Use

Can You Get Disability Benefits for Alcoholism?

Of course not every veteran with substance abuse and mental health issues will be able to obtain service connection for the abuse however, the point is that under VA disability law, a successful outcome is still possible.

In sum, the bottom line is that drugs and alcohol do matter. If allegations of drugs and/or alcohol are false, it is crucial that the veteran or Social Security claimant speak to his/her doctor right away to get the record corrected as soon as possible. Lastly, it should be noted that if there is a past history of abuse, the fact that the abuse is in the past needs to be clarified in the record as well.

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Alcohol/drug Use And Cancer

Excessive alcohol use can cause cancers in many places, such as the mouth, esophagus, breast and digestive system.

There are many other complications from alcohol and drug abuse, from diabetes to even orthopedic problems caused by intoxication. Infectious diseases, such as HIV or Hepatitis C may be the result of intravenous drug use, and veterans with drug problems have gotten these disabilities service-connected in the past.

It is important for the VA to recognize that alcohol and substance abuse are NOT moral problems in those with mental illness, but are as much a part of the disease process as any other symptom. It is even more important for veterans with substance abuse problems to receive the treatment and care that they need and deserve.

Finding Quality Treatment For Substance Use Disorders

This fact sheet serves as a guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center, which include a review of the accreditation, medication, evidence-based practices, position on the role of families, and support networks.

Also Check: How To Live With An Addict

Under The Americans With Disabilities Act A Person Is Considered Disabled If The Individual Is An Alcoholic Or A Recovering Alcoholic

Consequently, they may be entitled to accommodation in the workplace if they are qualified to perform the essential functions of a job. The Social Security Administration, however, does not automatically consider alcohol use disorder a disability and it is not listed as a disabling medical condition in Social Securitys Blue Book.

As With Any Other Medical Disorder Its Essential To Provide Complete Records Documenting All Your Medical Conditions Including Physical Exam Notes Laboratory Results Psychological Evaluation Reports And Records Of Hospitalizations

Social Security and Substance Abuse

Because alcoholism is not considered a disability by itself, Social Security will evaluate how associated impairments limit your ability to work. For example, if you have liver disease, you may experience severe abdominal pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. Social Security will conduct a residual functional capacity assessment to evaluate your ability to perform routine movement and necessary physical activity in a work environment. Social Security uses the RFC assessment to determine what jobs an applicant can still do, if any. If there is some type of work you can still perform, your claim will be denied, but if Social Security finds there is no job you can do, you may be awarded benefits under a medical-vocational allowance.

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Could I Lose My Current Disability Benefits Due To Substance Abuse

If you are already receiving social security disability benefits, you should not put your claim in jeopardy by using drugs or alcohol. At times, SSA will review your claim. There have been many applicants that have had their claimed reviewed every 2-3 years. If there is evidence of any illegal activity such as drug use that comes up while receiving benefits, it could lead to the suspension of your benefits. In addition, if you are wholly dependent on social security disability to make ends meet, the cost associated with obtaining drugs and alcohol is just a bad financial decision.

If you have further questions about social security disability claims in relation to drugs and alcohol, or if you have been denied benefits, please feel free to contact us at 210-885-3408. Absolutely free consultation.

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What Is A Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is when a person exhibits drug seeking behavior/drug use that is difficult to manage. People may seek/use the drug even in spite of harmful consequences, and the brain may even rewire itself to make quitting hard to accomplish.

The neurobiological changes can be so substantial that the person may not be able to function without using the drug. Even if initial drug use is voluntary, some may feel a compulsion to continue using the drug as time goes on. In extreme circumstances, some people may purchase the drug even if they cannot afford it, or, as another example, some may steal money from their friends or family to purchase the drug and satisfy their urges.

Drug addictions usually do not occur overnight generally, many people develop an addiction overtime. This makes the drug addiction subtle and nearly unnoticeable. Additionally, such addictions can occur with a variety of substances. Do you need a cup of coffee to avoid a headache in the morning? What about a tylenol? In addition to more dangerous drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, etc., common stimulants, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter drugs can all contribute to drug addiction.

Recommended Reading: What To Do About Drug Addiction Family Members

Finding A Way Out Of Disability And Addiction Today

Individuals with SUDs may struggle with underlying disorders that they are unaware of. They may have several questions about treatments, medications, and disability services. Contact a treatment provider today to inquire about various treatment plans. Examine your options for faith-based treatments, holistic-based treatments, and peer groups today. Explore the many ways rehab can help you restore your life to one of health and happiness.

  • About

Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

Clinically Reviewed:

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Alcoholism Is A Serious Medical Condition Which Impacts An Individuals Employment As Well As Their Personal Life

Social Security Archives

If you are unable to work because of the effects of alcoholism, whether or not you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits is a difficult question to answer. An attorney experienced in Social Security Disability can help you evaluate your case and your chances for approval.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.

The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
  • The Duration of Work test. Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
  • The Current Work Test. Whether you worked recently enough for the work to actually count toward coverage.
  • The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
  • Are you working? Your disability must be total.
  • Is your medical condition severe? Your disability must be severe enough to interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering.
  • Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments? The SSA has a List of Impairments that automatically qualify as severe disabilities. If your disease is not listed this does not mean you cannot get disability, it means you must prove you cannot maintain employment due to your limitations.
  • Can you do the work you did before? SSDI rules look at whether your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did prior to developing the condition.
  • Also Check: How To Get An Addict To Get Help

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