This article discusses Substance Abuse and Social Security Disability. Substance abuse is unhealthy for your mind and body. If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse or addiction, get help as soon as possible!
To understand how your disability claim will be affected by your substance abuse, we must first look at how the Social Security Administration evaluates substance abuse. You will not be found disabled based on a drug or alcohol addiction alone. In order to be found disabled, you must have another disabling impairment(s). If you have other disabling impairments besides substance abuse, the evaluation continues.
Is your substance abuse "material"? Materiality is defined as "whether we would still find you disabled if you stopped using drugs or alcohol. "Simply put, without the drug and alcohol use, are you still disabled?
This can be a difficult question to answer, especially when your other disabling impairments are mental in nature. Many mental disorders are so frequently seen with substance abuse it is difficult to tell which is the cause and the other the effect.
Medical records documenting illness before the introduction of substance abuse helps. Also, symptoms that persist during periods of sobriety help to illustrate that you are disabled from your illness and not your substance abuse. Your doctor can also give an opinion as to whether they feel your condition would improve if you stopped using.
Substance abuse alone will not qualify you for Social Security Disability, but you may have other impairments that prevent you from working. File a claim for benefits as soon as possible and get help for your substance abuse!