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!

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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