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Disability Benefits & Addictions

Disability Benefits & Addictions

Can I receive benefits because of drug addiction or alcoholism?

It is a known fact that a drug addiction or alcoholism often impairs a person's ability to work, but the Social Security Administration will not allow disability benefits to be granted on the basis of the addiction alone. The regulations that outline benefits for addictions to drugs and alcohol were changed in the 1990's and addictions are no longer considered to be acceptable grounds to receive benefits. These cases can be extremely complicated and disabled people who have previously been abusers have a more difficult time in securing the benefits they need.

Uncontrollable severe alcoholism or drug abuse can significantly hinder an individual's ability to secure regular employment and to stay employed over a long period of time. Social Security does not consider substance abuse to be disabling until the abuse causes other debilitating and irreversible medical conditions, such as schizophrenia or advanced sclerosis.

For this reason, it is important to understand the exact laws and regulations surrounding Social Security disability benefits in Nevada. Keep in mind that you may be able to receive benefits for a physical or mental condition that was caused by a drug addiction. One of the most common questions asked during the application process is whether or not the person would still be disabled if they quit abusing the substances, and this is especially hard to answer if the disabling condition is a mental disorder. For example, those suffering from extreme bi-polar would not be able to hold full-time employment even if they stopped abusing drugs, and the same is true of alcoholics who have advanced sclerosis and damaged livers.

Medical Conditions Caused by Addictions

Social Security outlines the requirements for drug addiction in a section called Substance Addiction Disorders. In order to meet the requirements, one must have suffered changes in their physical health or behavior due to regular abuse of a drug, which can be any prescription or illegal drug that affected the central nervous system. There are also criteria that must be met to prove that you suffer from one of the following conditions:

  • Liver damage
  • Depression
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Mental disorders
  • Peripheral neuropathies

For others, their drug and alcohol abuse may not have any impact on their medical condition. Someone who has suffered a back injury and has received multiple failed operations will still be disabled regardless of whether or not he or she abuses drugs or alcohol. Regardless of whether or not you are currently addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will still have to qualify under the SSA's basic requirements in order to be eligible for benefits.

Ongoing Drug Addiction Cases

Have you been medically diagnosed with a drug addiction? The SSA cannot usually hold this against you during the process of determining if you are eligible for disability because of a different mental or physical condition that is unrelated to drug abuse. While many people benefit from this policy, the SSA has the power to deny your claim if they discover that your condition will go away if you stop abusing drugs or alcohol. In most cases, applicants will undergo a drug/alcohol addiction (DAA) evaluation once they apply for benefits.

Here at Disability Action Advocates, we understand the impact that disability benefits will make on your future and we are committed to helping you recover this financial aid. We can help you gather the necessary medical evidence needed to win your claim, including psychiatric reports, names and addresses of your treating physicians, mental health status reports and other information that supports your claim. Contact our team today to learn more about how you can fight for the benefits you need and deserve.