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Substance abuse rates are high for people with disabilities

It’s a startling fact that the disabled population has rates of substance abuse that are as much as four times higher than those who are not disabled. Those suffering from visual impairments, orthopedic and spinal cord injuries, and amputations fall into the classification of “heavy drinkers” in as many as half of the cases. This is regardless of their pre-injury or -illness use of alcohol and drugs.

An applicant’s substance abuse can affect a winnable case

While it might be understandable to see why those seeking disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, in truth, self-medicating can harm a person’s ability to receive benefits. 

Administrative law judges (ALJ) presiding over appeals may perceive substance abuse issues to be a significant contributing factor to a applicant’s disability. If an ALJ cannot see past a person’s struggles, they may not accurately assess the sufferer’s real issue – their disability.

What can applicants with addiction issues do?

SSD benefit applicants do not need to face their struggles alone. Reach out to a supportive friend. Seek help with drinking or self-medicating issues from family, a medical professional or counselor. When a claim for benefits is denied, work with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney who will know how present the best possible evidence during an appeal.

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