Tag: how marijuana affects social security

SSDI Benefits and Marijuana: How Smoking Can Affect Your Claim

SSDI Benefits and Marijuana: How Smoking Can Affect Your Claim

Social Security Disability and Smoking
Have questions about social security disability and smoking? Call SSDA USA today!

Marijuana is still a tricky subject when it comes to talking about whether it’s legal. According to federal law, marijuana is still schedule one. However, many states are increasingly changing their laws to allow for the medical and recreational uses of marijuana. As of January 4, 2019, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. Also, recreational use of marijuana is legal in 10 states. The majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, which means that more states are likely to follow suit. However, you should be very careful about marijuana use if you are applying for Social Security benefits. If you are applying for Social Security disability and smoking at the same time, you may end up getting rejected – even if your marijuana use is legal in your state.

Applying for Social Security Disability and Smoking

Marijuana is a complicated drug to address because it has many different effects on a person’s physical well-being, cognitive functioning, and emotional coping abilities. For example, marijuana can be incredibly beneficial to people that suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, chronic seizures, anxiety, and other afflictions. Numerous studies have shown that marijuana can effectively treat some of the side effects of cancer chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting.

However, if you smoke marijuana, the Social Security Administration will look at many variables to determine whether you qualify for Social Security disability.

  • First, if the use of marijuana in your state isn’t legal, rejection is more than likely. This is true even if your marijuana use is for medical purposes. This is because you may have a hard time finding a doctor that will – in writing – state you are using it solely for medical reasons.
  • Second, the Social Security Administration will look at the disability you are claiming and how your use of marijuana may have affected its progression. The SSA will be especially suspicious if you are using marijuana recreationally and not medically, regardless of marijuana’s legality. For example, the use of marijuana results in changes to your motor/coordination skills that could affect your job performance. If you suffered an injury on the job while under the influence of marijuana, the SSA may see this as a cause and effect relationship.
  • Additionally, if your claim focuses on a psychiatric problem such as anxiety or depression, then the use of marijuana could end up hurting your claim. This is because many medical experts and psychiatric providers would testify at disability hearings that drug use, including marijuana use, can make psychiatric symptoms worse and even hasten the onset of certain psychological conditions.

Seeking Assistance Before Applying for Benefits

If you use marijuana for medical reasons, you must prove that it’s used to treat your condition’s symptoms. If the SSA thinks marijuana exacerbates your symptoms, you may not qualify for benefits.

However, even if you are able to do this, you should speak to an attorney. Preferably, you should speak to one that’s familiar with social security. Our advocates from Social Security Disability Advocates USA are a perfect choice.

Even if marijuana is legal in your state for medical (or recreational) purposes, the federal rules are trickier. A lawyer will be able to help present your case in the strongest possible light so that rejection on this basis is less likely.

Marijuana use, regardless of purpose and legality, can have an impact on your ability to qualify for social security benefits. If you’re applying for social security disability and smoking, you should contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA for professional guidance.

Call us at (602) 952-3200 to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t keep your questions to yourself. Contact an advocate today!

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.