Substance Abuse and Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

In 2013, the Social Security office issued guidelines regarding eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits in the case of individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol. In essence, the guidelines communicated that it’s essentially impossible for a judge to overlook active substance abuse if you’re applying for the SSDI or SSI programs.


However, if during a significant period of abstinence from drugs and alcohol, your symptoms show no improvement and this is documented thoroughly by a healthcare professional, your chances may be better. There is no specific timetable for the period of abstinence; the crucial thing is that a judge is able to determine whether or not you are still disabled once you cease use of these substances.


If your disability is related to your substance abuse, there is still hope that you can receive benefits provided any other conditions render you completely disabled. In this situation, a case will be built around proving the secondary conditions’ severity.


Where substance abuse exists, there are often accompanying mental impairments, for which the same ruling process applies. A judge will determine the degree of disability caused by the mental impairment outside of the substance abuse according to the concrete findings of healthcare professionals and any case managers’ or family members’ evidence.


If you believe drug or alcohol abuse may affect your eligibility for benefits, having an experienced Charlotte Social Security Disability Lawyer can help. Call Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 1.877.526.3457 or send us an e-mail to discuss your case in a 100% free initial consultation. Working with us—especially early in the process—will give your case the best possible chance.


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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law