Can Alcoholics Obtain Social Security Disability?

Alcohol And Drug Use Do Not Mean You Cannot Get SSDI, But It Is Harder

People with disabilities who are routine alcohol or drug users can still obtain Social Security Disability benefits, but there are restrictions that may make it more difficult. In this video, Tulsa disability lawyer Steve Troutman explains how Social Security views alcohol and drug use in the context of disability.

If you are considering filing for disability, or already have and have been denied, you should speak to a disability attorney about your case. Disability attorneys are among the most cost-friendly types of lawyers, taking only $6,000 or 25 percent of your back benefits only if you win your case – whichever is less. Because of this, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking to a disability law firm.

Video Transcription

If someone is a drug addict or alcoholic, that doesn’t mean they can’t get disability benefits. What it means is that Social Security is supposed to try to evaluate their case and decide whether they can work if they abstain from drug and alcohol use, which sometimes is difficult. If a person is currently abstinent, if a person has abstained from drug or alcohol use for a significant period of time, then the process is not particularly difficult. Social Security decides how they’re doing now, in the state of abstinence, and decides whether or not they’re disabled. The challenge is for the person who is still using drugs, or abusing drugs, or abusing alcohol. For that person, Social Security has to try to decide what they would be like if they stopped. And quite frankly, the general assumption, I think, by most judges is if they stopped, they would be fine.

Let me give you an example. If someone suffers from severe depression, but they drink, and they have a history of alcoholism, alcohol is a depressant so sometimes that person will say, “The reason I drink is because of my depression.” Social Security, I think, in most cases, views it the opposite. They think that the reason the person is depressed is because they drink. And so, most of those cases would be denied. Social Security would essentially say if you stop drinking, you’ll be fine.

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