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5 Critical SSDI Facts Everyone Needs to Know

5 Critical SSDI Facts Everyone Needs to Know

critical SSDI facts
There are five critical SSDI facts everyone should know, and SSDA USA is here to present them to you.

If you’re collecting social security disability benefits, you know just how complicated and complex it can be to navigate the application and acceptance processes. Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions and hidden truths about social security. Social Security Disability Advocates USA wants you to be well informed about your benefits. So, here is a list of some of the most critical SSDI facts to keep in mind.

1. You Cannot Receive SSDI and Retirement Benefits Concurrently

Generally speaking, your disability benefits convert to retirement benefits once you reach full retirement age. Disability and retirement benefits are not stackable sources of social security. Therefore, don’t expect to receive both at the same time.

There is, however, one exception to this rule, and that exception is if you choose to take early retirement benefits and get qualified for a disability that began before you took your retirement. This means that social security will pay you for the difference during the gap from when your disability began to when you claimed retirement benefits.

If, however, your Disability Determination and Services (DDS) center finds that your disability began after you claimed retirement benefits, or that you don’t qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits at all, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not pay you for the intermediary period, and you will be stuck with reduced Social Security Insurance (SSI) retirement benefits.

Keep in mind, your retirement benefits increase all the way up until age 70. So, taking benefits at age 62 (the minimum age required for retirement benefits) will permanently reduce your benefits by possibly hundreds of dollars per month. Still, taking early retirement benefits may be ideal for some people. Speak with a lawyer from SSDA USA if you have any questions on how this could affect you. 

2. SSDI Will Not Be Depleted

Many people are worried that social security will be depleted. However, these fears are unfounded. True, though, that social security does face challenges. Baby boomers are retiring, and the low birth rate means that the current population will struggle to pay for the previous generation’s social security benefits. However, social security will stay afloat.

Currently, the social security trust funds are running with trillions of dollars in surplus. That’s fine for now, but by 2034, those trust funds may be emptied. Even so, though, the payroll tax is enough to continue social security benefits at approximately 80% of current value. So, there’s no need to worry about bankruptcy or insolvency. At worst, social security benefits will take a huge hit, but benefits will not run dry.

3. Benefits May Not Remain the Same

While social security benefits won’t run dry, they may not remain the same, either. Specifically, there are a variety of strategies for dealing with the issue of the trust funds being depleted. 

Some have suggested raising the FICA tax. Others have suggested cutting benefits. Others still have suggested raising the taxable maximum income cap, cutting the COLA, and changing eligibility requirements. Regardless of which option(s) is chosen, benefits could be affected across the board for both current and future beneficiaries.

4. Benefits Are Not Equal for Everyone

SSDI benefits are not the same for everyone. They are similar to retirement benefits in that they are based on your income during the years you worked. Therefore, higher-earning individuals will generally receive more (up to a cap) than those who worked fewer years or who earned a lesser amount of income.

However, if you don’t qualify for SSDI, or if your SSDI is insubstantial, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be able to aid you. This type of social security benefit aids those who are disabled, elderly, or blind and who have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI. Keep in mind, though, that there are some additional qualifications you must meet for SSI eligibility. Contact SSDA USA if you have any questions. 

5. The COLA Matters

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is a key factor in calculating social security benefits. The COLA adjusts social security benefits to account for current inflation levels. In other words, as the cost of living goes up, social security benefits will receive a boost. 

The COLA is important because without it, benefits would remain stagnant and not adjust for inflation. This means that as the cost of living continues to rise, people would receive increasingly insufficient funds to depend on. That’s not good, and it’s why the COLA is calculated yearly to give people a bit of a boost as the cost of living rises. 

Have Questions About Critical SSDI Facts?

If you have questions or concerns about any critical SSDI facts, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. Our attorneys are ready and standing by to help address all your social security needs and worries. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. You can also reach us online via a contact form or through our convenient LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions bottled up. Contact an advocate today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

How the New Public Charge Rules Affect Your Social Security

How the New Public Charge Rules Affect Your Social Security

Public charge rules and social security
Some are concerned about the interactions between public charge rules and social security. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with the scoop.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced changes to its public charge rules that could affect many people seeking entry into the United States. Some may worry that their social security benefits could be affected when the new changes take place. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here to set the record straight.

The Public Charge Changes

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced changes to its public charge rules. Generally speaking, the changes allow broader discretionary power to adjudicators evaluating foreign nationals’ entries, and the changes create stricter standards that must be met. The changes have also extended public charge rules to non-immigrants. These changes take effect on October 15, 2019 to all future reviews, as well as to all reviews that are pending on the effective date. Here is a rundown of those changes:

Benefits Covered

When a foreign national is deemed a “public charge,” it means that they will likely become too dependent on government resources, and are therefore ineligible for entry into the United States. The recent changes have adjusted which benefits are examined when determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge. If the applicant has received any of these following benefits for an aggregate period of 12 months out of a 36-month period, they will be rendered ineligible for entry. The benefits that are evaluated are the following:

  • Benefits from federal, state, local, or tribal sources for the purposes of income maintenance and upkeep. This includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resources
  • Some federal housing benefits. This includes Section 8 Housing Assistance or Project-based Rental Assistance
  • Most forms of Medicaid 

Benefits Not Covered

The benefits that are not factored into public charge evaluation include the following:

  • Federal or state-granted retirement benefits. This includes social security retirement benefits.
  • Social Security Disability benefits. This includes Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • Benefits an individual earns through payroll and other tax deductions, e.g. unemployment benefits
  • Affordable Care Act health insurance tax credits
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid benefits if they’re being received by 1) persons under 21, or 2) pregnant women, or 3) women up to 60 days after their final day of pregnancy, or 4) people with emergency medical conditions
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits
  • Primary and secondary student services originating from schools, e.g. school lunches
  • Disaster relief resources
  • Job and career training programs
  • Child care resources and services

NOTE: Benefits received by a child, spouse, or some other beneficiary would not count against the principal applicant. This remains true unless the principal applicant is also listed as a beneficiary. Furthermore, some covered benefits received by members of the armed forces or their families and by children gaining citizenship status according to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 would not be counted against the principal applicant.

Adjustments of Status

When an applicant applies for an adjustment of status, not only must they prove that they haven’t received any covered benefits for 12 months out of a 36-month period, but they must also prove they are self-sufficient. Therefore, they must submit a declaration of self-sufficiency along with concrete evidence supporting their claim.

In addition to this, an immigration officer now has broad authority to consider the following factors in determining whether the applicant will become a public charge anytime in the near future:

  • Age—applicants who are younger than 18 years of age or who are older than the minimum retirement age (which is usually 62) must explain in depth why their age will not hinder them from working
  • Health—applicants must have no health issues that would interfere with their ability to attend school, work, or care for themselves properly
  • Family size—adjudicators will examine the total household size, including dependents and those who aid more than 50% of their support to the applicant
  • Education—applicants must have sufficient education to be able to avoid becoming a public charge. Such educational criteria might include English speaking skills, high school diplomas or GEDs, university degrees, and other licenses or certificates.
  • Skills—applicants must have sufficient skills and knowledge in order to hold a job that will sustain them. Such skills may include whether they are a caregiver in their household. Additionally, factors such as employment history may be considered.
  • Financial situation—the applicant’s household must have an income sufficient enough to avoid becoming a public charge. This is, at minimum, 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG).

If an applicant is found to likely be a public charge, they could post a bond of $8,100 minimum to elude the grounds of inadmissibility.

Non-Immigrants

Non-immigrants are a new category of individuals affected by these public charge changes. Foreign nationals who apply for an extension or change of immigrant status must show they have not received any covered benefits for 12 months out of the 36-month period that occurred after they obtained the immigration status they are seeking to extend or change. However, whether they are likely to become a public charge is not considered when evaluating the extension/change of status.

Exemptions

Certain foreign nationals do not have to worry about these public charge rules. The people excluded from such criteria are the following:

  • United States citizens
  • The majority of lawful permanent residents
  • Some adoptees
  • Other foreign nationals deemed exempt, including asylees, refugees, human trafficking victims, victims of domestic violence or certain other crimes, and Special Immigrant Juvenilles

Should You Worry about Your Benefits?

The short answer is no. While these rules affect certain foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States, your social security benefits should remain unaffected. Even the benefits of such foreign nationals will most likely remain untouched; the only thing to keep in mind is that some social security benefits could negatively impact a foreign national’s chances of having their application accepted.

Even then, social security disability benefits simply don’t disappear. There are strict rules and guidelines governing social security benefits. These rules are independent and separate from public charge rules governing the admission/change of status of immigrants and foreign nationals.

So put your worries aside. The change in public charge rules most likely won’t affect you or your social security. If you do have any questions, however, feel free to contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA for a free consultation.

Have Questions about the Public Charge Rules and Social Security Benefits?

If you have any questions or concerns about the public charge rules and social security, contact SSDA USA today. Our attorneys are standing by and ready to address all your social security queries. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. You can also reach us online via our LiveChat feature or through a contact form. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; get in touch with SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Hallucinations and Social Security—Causes, Effects, and Disability

Hallucinations and Social Security—Causes, Effects, and Disability

Hallucinations and social security
Hallucinations and social security don’t often go together. However, there are some unique situations where hallucinations and social security benefits can coexist.

Hallucinations can be frightening to deal with. Some hallucinations are neutral or positive, while others can be malicious and malevolent. No matter the type, all hallucinations should be addressed in an appropriate manner. But many people don’t report that they’re experiencing hallucinations for fear of being seen as crazy. 

There’s no shame in admitting that you’re experiencing hallucinations, and our legal team from Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with helpful details. Read on for some critical information about hallucinations and social security disability benefits.

What Are Hallucinations?

Hallucinations are sensations that occur involuntarily and without any external stimulus. Any of the five senses can be affected. For instance, although auditory and visual hallucinations are the most common types, a person may also smell, taste, or feel things that don’t actually exist. Hallucinations are involved in many medical and psychiatric conditions, but depending on the cause and the circumstances, not all hallucinations mean that a person has gone crazy. In fact, there are plenty of things that can cause hallucinations in perfectly sane people. 

What Are the Causes?

The causes of hallucinations are innumerable, but there are some general categories we can take a look at to better understand how hallucinations work. Anything from mind-altering substances to blindness to mental illness could contribute to hallucinations. Here are the basics:

Mental Health Conditions

Certain mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Lewy body disease, Alzheimer’s, and others can all potentially cause hallucinations. In schizophrenia, for instance, auditory hallucinations are most common, and they usually include voices that are negative and hateful. 

Some other conditions, though, can produce hallucinations that are neutral or even pleasant. For example, the visual hallucinations in Lewy body disease are generally intricate and vivid but not necessarily frightening.

Sleep-related Issues

Not getting enough sleep, believe it or not, could contribute to hallucinations. Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days and 25 minutes as part of a high school project to beat the world record for most time without sleep. By the fifth day without sleep, he had been experiencing hallucinations. Luckily, though, there was no permanent damage.

Hypnagogic (onset of sleep) and hypnopompic (upon awakening) hallucinations normally occur in people with disorders such as narcolepsy; however, such hallucinations can occur in individuals without pre-existing conditions. Also, such hallucinations may happen in people who get frequent sleep paralysis. 

Medications

Some prescription medications could potentially cause hallucinations or even make them worse. Some blood pressure medications, for instance, may constrict or dilate the cerebral artery, resulting in patients seeing shimmers, halos, or scintillating lights around objects. Anti-seizure medications, some antibiotics, medication meant to treat Parkinson’s disease, and some others all can produce hallucinations.

This is why it’s very important to inform your healthcare professional about all medications you’re taking, as multiple medications can interact in strange ways and cause unintended side effects.

Hallucinogenic Substances

Certain illicit drugs such as magic mushrooms (psilocybin), phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (peyote), N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 5MeO-DMT, and others can contribute to hallucinations when taken at a high enough of a dose. Such substances act as agonists, meaning that they activate receptors in the brain to cause chemical reactions. For example, psilocybin affects the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain associated with mood, perception, and critical thinking) and is a serotonin agonist.

Luckily, hallucinations induced by such drug use are usually temporary. However, chronic abusers of hallucinogens have been known to develop Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), wherein a person has flashbacks (continuous or sporadic) of hallucinations that occurred while under the influence of mind-altering substances. Sometimes, the flashbacks can even be accompanied by the emotions felt at the time of the experience.

Other Conditions

There are some other conditions that could cause hallucinations that don’t necessarily result from mental illness:

  • Migraines—severe migraines can be accompanied by visual hallucinations such as flashing zig-zag lines. Additionally, one’s perception of size may be distorted, and a person may see things as being larger or smaller than they actually are.
  • Seizures—depending on the area of the brain in which the seizure occurs, seizures may be accompanied by olfactory, gustatory, visual, and possibly other types of hallucinations. When the hallucinations are olfactory, they usually involve an unpleasant smell.
  • Stroke—Visual and auditory hallucinations can occur in a person having a stroke. Additionally, if the brain is damaged enough after the stroke, the hallucinations can last anywhere from a few days to a few years. Though, they generally get better over time. 
  • Brain tumors—Depending on the location of the brain tumor, a person can experience all kinds of hallucinations. Visually, a person may see people that aren’t real, or geometric patterns, flashing lights, etc. Other types of hallucinations are possible, as well.
  • Charles Bonnet Syndrome—This is a condition prevalent in elderly people who have impaired vision/blindness. Though, anyone of any age can have Charles Bonnet Syndrome if their vision is impaired enough. This syndrome involves visual hallucinations that involve people/geometric patterns. It’s thought that this occurs because when one’s vision deteriorates, the brain doesn’t get enough input, and it therefore spontaneously generates visual hallucinations.
  • Delirium—This condition can come about by certain mental conditions, but it can also come about by alcohol withdrawal (i.e. delirium tremens) or drug withdrawal. Symptoms can be fatal, and hallucinations are a comparatively minor thing to worry about. Some forms of delirium involve shaking, confusion, high fever, raised blood pressure, and other serious symptoms.

Hallucinations and Social Security: Why the Conflict?

Generally speaking, if the hallucinations accompany a neurological or mental disorder that renders a person unable to work, they may qualify for social security disability benefits. However, there is nothing in the SSA Blue Book that says hallucinations alone can qualify for disability. This is because some hallucinations are short term and do not render a person disabled, according to the Social Security Administration’s definition.

There are some surefire criteria that one must meet to qualify for disability benefits:

  • Your condition prevents you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for no less than one year

Additionally, for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you’ll have to make sure that you have a certain number of work credits (the amount changes based on age). For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), though, while you don’t need any work credits, you’ll have to meet some other criteria.

Regardless of which form of disability benefits you’re applying for, you must present medical evidence that affirms the fact that you cannot work because of your condition. Some documents you should consider gathering include:

  • Treatment records
  • Laboratory test results
  • Prescription receipts
  • Medical notes
  • Surgery/procedure paperwork
  • Expense reports
  • Insurance information and bills

Your case will be inspected by your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) center, at which point a decision will be made whether or not you qualify. If you do, you will receive disability benefits. If not, don’t lose hope; many people don’t qualify on their initial application. 

You can take steps to file an appeal, and Social Security Disability Advocates USA can help you throughout the entire process.

Have More Questions About Hallucinations and Social Security?

If you have further questions about hallucinations and social security disability benefits, feel free to contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today! Our professionals will help guide you through the process of obtaining social security benefits, one step at a time.

You can get in touch with us anytime by calling (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can reach us online via our online contact form or by taking advantage of our convenient LiveChat feature. Consultations are absolutely free. Don’t keep your questions bottled up; contact an advocate right away!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

JUUL E-Cigs and Social Security—A Tricky Relationship

JUUL E-Cigs and Social Security—A Tricky Relationship

Juul e-cigs and social security

JUUL vaping is the latest iteration of electronic cigarette technology, and while some claim that JUUL use is safer than traditional cigarettes, the latest trend could affect your social security benefits. Social Security Disability Advocates wants you to know that if you do vape with a JUUL e-cigarette, don’t lose hope. You may still qualify for social security disability benefits. But the relationship between vaping and social security is a tricky, complex one. Here are the details. 

What is JUUL?

A JUUL is a small electronic cigarette device invented by PAX Labs and is now overseen by JUUL Labs. The JUUL resembles a USB/flash drive and is easily concealable, one of the more attractive traits of the JUUL when compared with other electronic cigarettes. The device interacts with JUUL “pods,” which are cartridges filled with liquid nicotine along with other ingredients that could harm the human body. The pod heats up, creating an aerosol that the user is able to easily inhale. Pods come in a variety of appealing flavors, another reason people choose the JUUL over its competitors.

What are the Health Effects?

The long-term effects of electronic cigarette use are not known; there just isn’t enough data or scientific studies on such a subject. Some studies have shown, however, that with what data we have available, electronic cigarettes are not harmless.

The Ingredients

Many of the ingredients in the JUULpod liquid are not known because not every ingredient is labeled. This alone is cause for concern. It’s difficult to determine the safety of something when not all the ingredients are known. However, there are some ingredients in JUULpod liquid that we do know of, and we know they are in fact harmful.

Nicotine is the main ingredient of JUULpods and other electronic cigarettes. While some electronic cigarette cartridges may not have nicotine, most JUULpods and other electronic cigarettes use nicotine in their liquids. JUULpods have an especially alarming amount of nicotine: one JUULpod contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. That’s more than twice the amount of nicotine in similar electronic cigarette devices.

Also, JUULpods in particular use nicotine salts, which is a form of nicotine most closely resembling nicotine found in tobacco leaves, instead of freebase nicotine. Because of this, the bloodstream absorbs the nicotine more easily, leading to a greater risk of addiction. This also makes the vapor less harsh to breathe in, making JUUL e-cigarettes more alluring than their competitors.

Furthermore, JUULpods contain benzoic acid, which possesses confirmed hazardous effects on the body. JUULpods include benzoic acid because it amplifies the effects and potency of nicotine, and nicotine does the same with benzoic acid. It’s a dangerous synergy.

Physical Effects

The physical effects are both unpleasant and unhealthy. Some immediate physical effects caused by nicotine/benzoic acid are the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness/headache
  • Sore throat/coughing
  • Vision problems

Additionally, there are some more serious, long-term effects from JUUL use that are worth noting. While more data is needed, it’s pretty safe to say that using a JUUL e-cigarette can be linked to the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular problems—JUUL use may cause serious cardiovascular problems. Electronic cigarettes overall can cause increased inflammation, oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, and sympathetic nerve activation. All these things are signs and precursors to cardiovascular problems and can seriously harm the body if not addressed.
  • Lung problems—Use of the JUUL can contribute to serious lung/breathing problems. Specifically, the use of the JUUL can potentially lower immune system response and lead to an increase in inflammation.
  • Other problems—JUUL use could potentially lead to kidney and liver problems, in addition to other conditions. In fact, formaldehyde, a cancer-causing agent, can form if the liquid in the JUULpod is not heated properly. Ingestion of formaldehyde along with the many other dangerous chemicals in JUULpod liquid is dangerous to one’s health.

Mental Effects

There aren’t just physical effects to worry about. Nicotine/vaping can be harmful in cognitive/mental terms, as well. Here are some such conditions to be aware of:

  • Cognitive problems—Nicotine, in particular, is quite harmful to the brain, especially for adolescents/young adults. Nicotine hinders the growth of the area of the brain crucial in decision-making. Because of this, use of the JUUL can hamper brain development and lead to an increase in impulsive behavior, along with problems in attention and learning.
  • Emotional/Mood problems—JUUL use and other electronic cigarette devices can lead to symptoms of depression. Additionally, while some may claim to use electronic cigarettes to diminish their stress and anxiety, it’s plausible that JUUL and other e-cigs in fact contribute to stress and anxiety.
  • Dependence/Addiction problems—Use of the JUUL can cause one to become addicted to nicotine. And, because of the specially formulated JUULpod liquid, nicotine addiction can occur quite easily and even unnoticeably. Nicotine is just as addictive as cocaine and more addictive than alcohol and some medications. Getting hooked on a JUUL is not something to look forward to.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

To qualify for social security disability benefits, you must meet a few criteria:

  • Your condition must prevent you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  • Your condition must have lasted or must be expected to last no less than 12 months/result in death

Alternatively, some conditions in the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Blue Book automatically qualify for social security disability benefits. However, if you have a condition not listed, you must prove that you meet the definition of disability. You can help prove this by getting expert medical testimony, medical records, and other documents that show the extent of your disability.

Additionally, in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must, generally speaking, have earned 40 work credits. You can earn up to 4 credits per year, and one credit for every $1,360 (for the year 2019). Therefore, you need at least ten years’ worth of work to qualify for SSDI. However, some exceptions may apply. Contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA if you have questions about your social security benefits.

Why the Conflict?

JUUL e-cigs and social security benefits have a hard time going together. Why is this? Well, before receiving social security benefits, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) center in your state will look at your case. If they determine that your disability originates from your lifestyle, you may not receive disability benefits.

In other words, you must show that vaping/electronic cigarettes do not contribute to your medical condition, and that you would still be considered disabled regardless of your vaping/electronic cigarette usage. This can be quite difficult if not impossible to prove. However, if you use a JUUL e-cig or other electronic cigarettes, it’s still possible you may be eligible for disability benefits.

If possible, though, you should quit any habits that are bad for your health. Alcohol, marijuana, JUUL electronic cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, illicit drugs, and plenty of other substances can make your case for disability benefits difficult to navigate. Because of this, don’t pursue benefits alone. Contact SSDA USA for help filing your disability claim.

Have Questions About JUUL E-cigs and Social Security?

If you have questions about your social security benefits, contact an SSDA USA advocate right away! Our professionals are standing by and ready to address all your social security questions and concerns.

Feel free to get in touch with us by phone anytime at (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can get in touch with us online via a contact form or through our LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; contact an advocate right away!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship. 

Social Security Disability and Drug Addiction: Interactions and Implications

Social Security Disability and Drug Addiction: Interactions and Implications

social security and drug addiction
SSDA USA is here with key information on social security and drug addiction.

Many people think that drug addiction and social security benefits don’t go together. For the most part, this is true. However, the heart of the matter is much more complex. If you or a loved one suffer from a drug addiction, don’t lose hope just yet. There is still a chance you or they may qualify and not be denied social security disability benefits. Social Security Disability Benefits USA is here with the key points that you need to know.

What is a Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is when a person exhibits drug seeking behavior/drug use that is difficult to manage. People may seek/use the drug even in spite of harmful consequences, and the brain may even rewire itself to make quitting hard to accomplish. 

The neurobiological changes can be so substantial that the person may not be able to function without using the drug. Even if initial drug use is voluntary, some may feel a compulsion to continue using the drug as time goes on. In extreme circumstances, some people may purchase the drug even if they cannot afford it, or, as another example, some may steal money from their friends or family to purchase the drug and satisfy their urges.

Drug addictions usually do not occur overnight; generally, many people develop an addiction overtime. This makes the drug addiction subtle and nearly unnoticeable. Additionally, such addictions can occur with a variety of substances. Do you need a cup of coffee to avoid a headache in the morning? What about a tylenol? In addition to more dangerous drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, etc., common stimulants, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter drugs can all contribute to drug addiction.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

Social security disability benefit applications can be tricky to navigate as individual circumstances are unique. There are, however, a few basic guidelines to help you navigate the social security benefits application process. You may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Your condition prevents you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which, for 2019, is $1,220/month for non-blind individuals and $2,040/month for blind individuals.
  • Your condition is expected to result in death or has lasted/is expected to last at least one full calendar year.
  • You are no longer able to perform past relevant work due to a physical and/or mental impairment. 
  • Your impairment meets or equals one of the medical severity listings in SSA’s Blue Book. 

In addition, you must have earned a certain number of work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Generally speaking, you’ll need 40 work credits (one per $1,360, up to four per year); however, younger people need fewer credits to qualify for SSDI.

Additionally, depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as this program aids impoverished individuals who suffer from disability, blindness, or who are elderly. Also, SSI does not depend on work credits.It’s even possible to qualify for both programs concurrently. If you have questions about applying for benefits, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.

To qualify for either program, though, you’ll need to provide medical evidence and have your case reviewed by your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) center. Just having a doctor say you’re disabled doesn’t necessarily make it so. The application process is a long and arduous one, and things can become quite complex. In fact, just the initial application can take months to process.

If you’re approved, you should be all set with your benefits, and you should receive them regularly, provided you continually meet the disability requirements. If you don’t initially qualify, that’s OK; most people don’t. Speak with one of our attorneys to learn more about how you can appeal an unfavorable DDS decision.

Is a Drug Addiction Compatible with Social Security Benefits?

This is the tricky part. Whether you get approved for social security disability benefits depends on whether your drug addiction contributes to your disability. If your Disability Determination Services (DDS) center decides that your drug addiction does contribute to your disability, you may not qualify for disability. In other words, they may decide that, had it not been for your drug use, your disability would not exist, and you would likely be able to work.

For instance, if you smoke cigarettes and suffer serious coughing fits, the DDS may determine that your use of cigarettes contributes to your condition, and that your coughing would likely go away if you were to stop smoking. Likewise, if you ingest copious amounts of alcohol and suffer high blood pressure, the same line of logic applies.

However, if you have a drug addiction, don’t lose hope. It’s still possible to receive social security disability benefits. You must simply prove that your disability is independent of your drug use. 

In other words, you must show that even if you were to quit your drug use, your disability would still persist and would still render you unable to engage in SGA. Even if your drug use caused your condition in the first place, you still may be eligible for benefits. If you have questions about social security and drug addiction, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.

Have Questions About Social Security and Drug Addiction?

If you have questions about social security and drug addiction, contact SSDA USA right away. Our team works tirelessly for your social security benefits so you don’t have to. Get in touch with us anytime at (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can reach us online through a contact form or through our convenient LiveChat feature. Consultations are absolutely free. Don’t keep your questions waiting any longer; get in touch with us today!

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