The issue of substance abuse can be a complicated one. In short, abusing drugs or alcohol will make your disability case tougher, but that does not mean you will definitely be denied.
Substance Abuse Can Make The Process More Difficult
When considering drugs and alcohol, the question the Social Security Administration must ask is: If the claimant stops using drugs and/or alcohol, would they still be disabled? In some cases, this is very simple. In others, it can be much more complicated.
Examples of how Substance Abuse Can Affect an SSDI Claim
Example 1: Applicant is claiming disability based on a severe back injury from a car accident. If claimaint stopped abusing alcohol or drugs, the back injury would still be the same. The judge cannot use the substance abuse as a reason to deny the applicant.
Example 2: Applicant has uncontrolled diabetes with frequent hospitalizations because their blood sugar is sky high, and they also drink heavily. Alcohol abuse is going to affect the Applicant’s diabetes. If they stopped drinking, their diabetes could be controlled. If the judge decides that Applicant’s condition would improve by staying sober, the Applicant could be denied.
Stopping May Be Hard, But It Can Really Help
One thing that can really help your case is to stop using drugs or alcohol. If you stop, and your disability continues, then the judge can see that drugs or alcohol are not causing the disability.
The only way you can be certain the judge will deny you for drug or alcohol use is by lying. The medical records Social Security collects will already show reports of drug or alcohol abuse. This includes statements you make to doctors or nurses, as well as test results. Based on this information, the judge will already have a good idea of what your drug or alcohol use is like. If you lie during your hearing, the judge will know, and will use it as a reason to say none of your statements can be trusted.
This Is A Complex Issue
But remember, these examples are a very simple look at a complicated issue. Most disability cases involve numerous medical conditions, and can include a mix of physical and mental conditions. For that reason, if you have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, it is best to work with a advocate on your disability case.
About Citizens Disability, LLC:
Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call (800)492-3260.