Monday, November 19, 2007

Drugs, Alcohol and Social Security Disability

One area of Social Security Disability law which is hard to find on the Internet is how drugs and alcohol addiction are evaluated by SSA in a disability case. Many of you may have heard that you can not get SSDI or SSI for drug and alcohol addiction. This is true but just because you have an addiction does not mean you can't get disability based on other medical conditions. The drug or alcohol addiction can not be material to the finding of disability. SSA is supposed to first determine if you are disabled based on all your medical conditions including the drug addiction. If SSA finds you are disabled based on all your conditions they are then supposed to decide if you were not using drugs or alcohol would you still be disabled under their rules. Proving disability in these cases can be easier if you have a long period of sobriety and during that time period you are shown to still be disabled. It is a little trickier when you don't have a long period of sobriety. In these situations it can be helpful to have statements from your doctors that show what your limitations would be even if you were not using drugs or alcohol. You can even get disability for conditions that were probably cause by your addiction if they are disabling even if you stopped using. An example of this is you can get disability for severe cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism if it is disabling absent alcohol abuse.