Will Substance Abuse Affect Applying For Benefits?

For people who are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, some conditions or history of substance abuse may make it more difficult to qualify for benefits.

In 1996, Congress passed legislation amending the requirements and allowances for disability benefits. Namely, drug and alcohol dependence could no longer qualify a person for benefits. However, if a person has a disability that is not connected to their alcohol or drug dependency, he or she may still be approved for benefits, but there is no guarantee.

However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will want to know if a person’s drug or alcohol addiction is “material” to his or her disability. Meaning, would that person still be disabled if he or she stopped abusing substances? An example of this would be if one’s alcohol abuse were resulting in chronic liver disease. If the SSA had evidence, such as a doctor’s statement, that the patient’s condition would improve if he or she stopped abusing substances, then the SSA would likely not find that person legally disabled.

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a confusing, complex process, especially if your case is complicated. If you have questions about your eligibility status, contact a Tulsa, Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney to help you understand your options. We offer free evaluations of your case, and you can reach us at (918) 265-1404.


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