In addition to creating financial difficulties, being disabled can take a huge physical and emotional toll on an individual. Some people turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve stress.
In fact, according to the Sunrise House American Addiction Centers, there are around 4.7 million disabled American adults who have a substance use disorder. However, alcohol and drug usage can sometimes affect your ability to receive social security disability benefits.
Over the course of this blog post, we’ll discuss how alcohol or drug usage can impact your ability to obtain SSD benefits. If the SSA denied your claim due to these factors, an experienced disability attorney may be able to assist you in appealing the decision.
How Drug or Alcohol Addiction Can Impact an SSD Claim
According to SSA regulations, the disability claim of a person can’t be denied simply because they have a history of addiction. Nonetheless, continuous usage of alcohol or drugs can serve as a valid ground to deny a claim.
Prolonged drug or alcohol abuse can lead to a multitude of severe medical conditions and can adversely affect a person’s health. It can lead or contribute to cardiovascular conditions, respiratory issues, liver failure, personality disorders, and a host of other health problems. But with that being said, many claimants have conditions that aren’t related to their substance use in any way.
Your claim will be reviewed by the SSA, who will determine if your addiction has any relation to your medical condition.
How the SSA Assesses Alcohol and Drug Use
The first thing the SSA will try to determine is whether alcohol or substance use is a primary or contributing factor that caused the alleged disability. If it isn’t, this information doesn’t need to be considered.
On the other hand, if the SSA determines that alcohol or drug usage is a primary or contributing factor behind your condition, and if they have reasons to believe ceasing substance usage will bring an improvement, your claim may be denied. This is determined by considering the following information:
- Whether your drug or alcohol use was a leading factor to your disabling condition
- Whether drug and alcohol usage is exacerbating your disabling condition
- Whether your condition would improve if you stopped using alcohol or drugs.
However, regardless of whether substance use caused or contributed to your condition, the Social Security Administration must evaluate your case.
The Law Offices of Lisa Douglas, Inc in N. Little Rock, Arkansas, focuses on social security disability claims as well as medical malpractice and personal injury cases. If you require the assistance of an experienced disability lawyer, get in touch with us.