Living with an addiction or substance abuse disorder is not easy on anyone. When a person also has another disability that prevents him or her from working, the situation can sometimes seem hopeless. However, a person with a disabling condition may still have the ability to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but the approval would depend on the specific circumstances.
It is important to note that the Social Security Administration does not consider a substance abuse disorder alone a qualifying condition for SSD benefits. The SSA will not necessarily deny a person benefits solely because of that disorder if a person also has another disability. However, the details of how the substance abuse affects the disability will play a key role.
Some ways that the SSA will use information regarding a substance abuse issue when considering someone for benefits include the following:
- Determining whether the substance use is causing the disabling condition or whether the abuse is making the condition worse
- Looking into whether the disabling condition would improve to a point of being able to return to work if the applicant no longer used the substance
- Concluding whether the substance abuse led to a disabling condition that is now irreversible
- Requiring substance abuse treatment as a stipulation of obtaining benefits
Many people think that having a substance abuse problem will immediately disqualify them for benefits, but that may not always be the case. If individuals are concerned about this element of their situation, they may want to remember that they can receive help understanding how their addiction might affect their case. Attorneys experienced in handling complex Social Security Disability cases may be able to provide useful assistance to those with such concerns.