25th July 2016
Drinking and Disability: Will Alcohol or Drug Use Hurt my Case?
The issue of drug and alcohol 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. When considering drugs and alcohol, the question Social Security must ask is: If the claimant stops using drugs and/or alcohol, would they still be disabled? In some cases, this is very simple. Others can be much more complicated.
Example 1: You are claiming disability based on a severe back injury from a car accident. If you stop abusing alcohol or drugs, your back injury is still the same. The judge cannot use your substance abuse as a reason to deny you.
Example 2: You have uncontrolled diabetes with frequent hospitalizations because your blood sugar is sky high, and you also drink heavily. Alcohol abuse is going to affect your diabetes. If you stop drinking, your diabetes could be controlled. If the judge decides that your condition would improve by staying sober, you could be denied.
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.
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 lawyer on your disability case.
About Citizens Disability, LLC: Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Their 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.
For more information about Citizens Disability, LLC visit the company’s website: citizensdisability.com