Substance Abuse Problems Impact Disability Benefits

The term “legally incapacitated” refers to people who have been impaired to such an extent that they cannot make rational decisions in the eyes of the law. The impairment may be a result of a disability or an illness, or it could come about from drug or substance abuse. When someone is legally incapacitated, he or she cannot generally do things like enter into legally binding contracts.

The cause of your incapacitation determines whether you qualify as disabled and are eligible to receive disability benefits like SSDI or SSI. Physical and mental disabilities that result in incapacitation are precisely what disability benefits are meant for. The benefits help people and their family members deal with the financial troubles that result from being unable to work due to the incapacitation. A Tulsa SSI attorney can provide more information on whether you or a loved one are eligible for disability benefits.

Depending on the severity of the incapacitation, the issue is whether a person is able to manage his or her own finances. If a beneficiary is legally incapacitated (unable to make rational decisions), that person can continue to receive disability benefits, but a representative payee should be put in place in order to receive and disburse that person’s disability benefits to best meet the person’s needs. The Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) “Representative Payment Program” lets friends, family or even organizations serve as payees. Payees must complete a form and keep the SSA up-to-date as to how the person or organization is managing the beneficiary’s benefits.

If your incapacitation stems from drugs or alcohol problems, the SSA handles this matter differently. What the SSA looks to determine is this – how much of a contributing factor are the substance problems to your disability? If you suffer a severe disability that renders you unable to work regardless of your substance abuse problems, you will likely be eligible for disability benefits. However, if the SSA finds that your substance abuse problems factor into your disability or incapacitation, the SSA will more than likely deny your application for disability benefits.

Do you have experience as a representative payee or with how Social Security treats disability applicants are also suffering from substance abuse problems?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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