How Does Drug Addiction or Alcoholism Affect My Social Security?

How Does Drug Addiction or Alcoholism Affect My Social Security?

How Does Drug Addiction or Alcoholism Affect My Social Security
Addictions’ effect on social security benefits can be substantial. Contact SSDA USA for help.

Anyone who has experienced drug addiction or alcoholism, or anyone who had a friend or family member who suffered from addiction to drugs or was an alcoholic, knows that such addiction can be incredibly disabling. However, you may not be familiar with what such addictions’ effect on Social Security benefits are. At Social Security Disability Advocates, we wanted to help shed some light on this topic and help answer your questions.

Addictions’ Effect on Social Security Benefits

Even though addiction can be disabling – people have often lost their jobs as a result of alcoholism or drug addiction – the Social Security Administration does not grant disability benefits to people who have disabilities where alcohol or drug addiction caused the condition or made the condition worse.

This wasn’t always the case. In 1996, the Contract with America Advancement Act passed through Congress. This act terminated the benefits for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It also terminated disability insurance of individuals whose drug addiction or alcoholism were primary causes for their disability. Social Security benefits stopped. Individuals who were struggling with addiction or alcoholism would no longer be eligible for benefits from January 1, 1997 onward.

Because of the Social Security Act Amendments of 1972, individuals suffering from disabilities caused by addiction or alcoholism still experienced restrictions on their Social Security payments. This required that individuals suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction could only receive disability payments through a representative payee and would be required to participate in appropriate treatment if it was available.

Once disability payments stopped, alcoholic and drug-addicted beneficiaries had 60 days to appeal their termination if they:

  • Suffered from a disability separate from their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • Held an SSA record that had incorrect coding.
  • Weren’t receiving benefits as a result of alcoholism or drug addiction prior to the termination date.
  • Turned 62 before the termination date
  • Could apply for Social Security retirement benefits
  • Turned 65 or older and
  • Could apply for SSI payments as a result of their age.

Individuals whose payments stopped still received SSI payments during the appeal process. It was only if the appeal was unsuccessful that their payments would officially cease and their eligibility terminated.

Can You Lose Your Social Security Benefits?

If you suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction as your disability, or if your alcoholism or drug addiction makes your disability worse, you won’t be eligible. If you collected benefits due to a different disability, you possibly could continue collecting payments if addiction or alcoholism does not worsen it.

Anyone with a disability also struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction may qualify for benefits.

Generally speaking, addictions do affect Social Security benefits. People who suffer disabilities caused or worsened by alcoholism or drug addiction are ineligible for disability payments. For more information on whether or not you qualify for Social Security benefits, be sure to contact us today to schedule a free consultation. You can call us at 602-952-3200 or get in touch with us by using our LiveChat feature.

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.

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