Social Security Disability Benefits and Marijuana: How Smoking Impacts Your Claim

Social Security Disability Benefits and Marijuana: How Smoking Impacts Your Claim

A question that we’re commonly asked is: if I smoke marijuana, will it weaken my claim for Social Security disability benefits?

The answer is: it’s complicated.

There’s no drug testing policy that’s governing the eligibility criterion for Social Security disability benefit, health care providers document the use of any substances in your medical records. And being a regular marijuana smoker does affect your chances. This is where your individual circumstances come into play. They can transform the way your case is presented to the authorities.

Moreover, the state that you live in plays a vital role in the decision making process. State laws dictate whether your use of marijuana is legal versus illegal.

The Social Security Disability Benefits Procedure

Receiving benefits under Social Security disability system depends on the attestation and information retrieved from medical professionals, administrative law judges and case managers. Regardless of the strict eligibility requirements of  the Social Security Administration (SSA), there’s no criteria when making a decision for medicinal marijuana smokers.

Even in the case of their disabilities, medical conditions might affect some individuals worse than they do others. The limitations that each individual faces are contingent on their personal history, genetic makeup, activities of daily living and medical record documentation.

That being said, the illegal use of any substance including marijuana can be the kiss of death to your claim.

Medical Marijuana

Contrary to popular belief, there may be some cases that can testify to legitimate use of marijuana. The consumption of medical marijuana is one.

In Arkansas you must have a medical marijuana card to purchase medical marijuana.  To receive a medical marijuana card you must meet the following qualifications:

(1) be 18 years of age or older,

(2) diagnosed with one of the qualifying medical conditions,

(3) have the official certificate form from a medical doctor and

(4) submit proof of Arkansas residency.

The drug may be suggested to treat chronic pain or PTSD. It’s important to show your card at the time of filing a request for Social Security disability benefits.

Recreational Marijuana

Washington, Colorado, and Oregon are among states that have legalized the use of marijuana. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states.  In the United States the use and possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

There is still a large amount of controversy regarding the use of medical marijuana and how this will impact receiving social security disability benefits.  Without a medical card for the use of this drug, the SSA will not consider this as valid medical treatment.  If you are consuming marijuana for chronic pain, a pain management doctor will usually decline to treat you.  Regardless of your disabling condition or the use of medical marijuana you must still meet the disability guidelines to qualify for social security disability.

If you have a complicated case such as this, you’ll need legal support to get through the process. At The Law Offices of Lisa Douglas, Lisa Douglas is one of  the top SSI disability attorneys in N Little Rock.