Drug Use And Social Security Disability Benefits

An estimated 20 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  If you are a current or past drug user and plan to file for disability, you could face obstacles to your claim. The Social Security Administration has specific rules that govern whether or not a drug user is eligible for benefits.

Drug Use and Disability

When you submit an application for Social Security disability benefits and you are drug user, the Social Security Administration will look at several factors to determine if you are eligible. One of those is whether or not your disability is the result of drug use or independent of your addiction.

Your application will go through a process to determine eligibility. At the first step, the agency will look at what types of drugs are involved. Illegal substance such as cocaine and prescription drugs such as antidepressants can all impact your eligibility. Nicotine and caffeine are not considered when it comes to drug use. 

The next consideration made by the agency is whether or not you are actually disabled. A disability or impairment has to be severe enough that it prevents you from working. If you are not considered disabled, your application will probably be denied. If not, it is judged by the next criteria.

The agency then looks at how your disability is impacted by your drug use. If your drug use causes your disability, there is a good chance your application will be denied. The thought is that if you were not using the illegal substances, you would not be considered disabled and could work.

Finally, the agency will look at whether or not your drug use exacerbates your condition. If it does, this could have a bearing on whether or not you are eligible to receive benefits. If not, you might qualify for benefits.

Options to Improve Eligibility 

There are some things that you can do to improve your chances of receiving help if you are a drug user. One of those is to seek help. By going to rehabilitation, you can show that you are committed to improving your health. The agency might agree to temporary benefits. 

Another thing you can do is to get an examination by your own doctor. If your doctor can state that your drug use does not impact your health and that even if you were clean, you would still be disabled, you have a better chance of receiving benefits. Your doctor's assessment carries a lot of weight with the administration because it is his or her medical records that the agency looks at when you first submit an application.

To find other ways to improve your chances of getting benefits, talk to a disability lawyer (such as Michael P Boyle). The lawyer can assess your case and give you advise on how to proceed with your case.