Addiction and Disability Benefits
Many Americans are unable to work due to struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, and they may be wondering about their ability to seek Social Security Disability benefits, or SSD benefits, after working for years or even decades in a qualifying position. Those who suffer from addiction should be able to seek treatment, but it is critical to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not pay SSD benefits if an applicant’s drug or alcohol addiction is determined to be a “contributing factor material to the determination of disability.” In other words, and generally speaking, if your addiction is the major cause of your disability, you will not be eligible to receive SSD benefits. However, if you have a disability with other underlying causes and you also are suffering from addiction, you may be eligible to receive SSD benefits.
Whenever you have questions about your SSD benefit eligibility, it is essential to seek advice from a national disability benefits lawyer about the specific facts of your case. In the meantime, we want to give you some additional information about drug addiction and alcoholism when it comes to seeking SSD benefits.
You Cannot Receive SSD benefits if Drug Addiction or Alcoholism is Material to Your Disability
If you are seeking SSD benefits and supplying medical records to the SSA (which you must do in order to receive benefits), the SSA must “determine whether your drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability.” If the SSA determines that alcoholism or drug addiction is material, then you will not be eligible for benefits.
But what does it mean for a drug addiction or for alcoholism to be “material” to your disability or disabling condition?
How the SSA Determines If Addiction is Material to a Disability
The SSA explains the process it follows when it has medical evidence of a drug addiction or alcoholism. According to the SSA, “the key factor . . . in determining whether drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability is whether we would still find you disabled if you stopped using drugs or alcohol.”
In other words, would you still have a disability or disabling condition if you stopped using drugs or alcohol? The answer to that question will be central to a determination of your SSD benefits eligibility.
Seek Advice from One of Our National Disability Benefits Attorneys
If you recently applied for SSD benefits and were denied because of your drug addiction or alcoholism, it may be possible to appeal and to show that the drug addiction or alcoholism is not a contributing factor material to the determination of your disability. In other words, you may still be eligible for benefits upon appeal. If you are in the early stages of applying for benefits and you are grappling with addiction, one of our national Social Security disability benefits lawyers can assist you with your application. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz today for more information.