Many people believe that a person who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction will be barred from receiving disability benefits. The truth is that this may not always be the case. While alcohol and drug addiction doesn’t always affect a person’s chances of getting benefits, that is not to say that it never will. Ultimately, the Social Security Disability Administration will consider a person’s case if he or she meets the requirement for disability outside of their addiction. If, however, a person’s addiction is a major contributing factor to his or her disability, their application for benefits may be denied.
The Administration will ask the following questions when determining if drug or alcohol addiction is material to a disability determination:
- Is the addiction the only impairment?
- Is there a history of drug abuse or alcoholism?
- Does the drug abuse or alcoholism significantly impact the individual’s medical impairments?
- Would the individual still be eligible for benefits without the addiction?
There are some circumstances in which a person suffers mental impairments, such as anxiety and depression, as a result of their dependence on alcohol and drugs. Because it can be difficult to prove that these conditions would still exist without the substance abuse, it is important to obtain the testimony of medical experts with a history of treating the applicant. Their testimony can have a big impact on the determination of his or her eligibility for benefits.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and is in need of benefits, please call Harbison & Kavanagh to speak with a Richmond SSD attorney. While applying for benefits may seem like an uphill battle, a successful outcome is possible when you have the right representation. Contact us today to benefit from experienced counsel.