Alcoholism or Substance Abuse May Effect Your Social Security Disability Claim

bottle.JPGIt may be a surprise to know that not long ago Social Security disability claimants could have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for having alcoholism and substance abuse problems. Presently, alcoholism and substance abuse problems may be a huge barrier to obtaining these same benefits. In 1996, Congress passed an act that prevented claimants that suffer from alcoholism and/or substance abuse to receive SSDI benefits. Claimants that suffer from substance abuse addictions or alcoholism may find themselves receiving an unfavorable decision by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Before taking a look at the effects of the substance abuse or alcoholism, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will focus on the physical or mental impairment of the Social Security claimant. If the SSA determines there is a disabling condition, the SSA will then consider the medical evidence showing a history of alcoholism or substance abuse. At that point, the SSA will decide if the alcoholism or drug abuse is a contributing factor to that person’s disability.

The key question is whether the alcoholism or drug abuse “materially” contributes to the disabling condition. Social Security may ask that if the addiction was not there, would the claimant still be disabled.

It is important in these types of claims for the social security claimant to seek treatment and be in a treatment program. Not all Administrative Law Judges are sympathetic to the plight of an addiction. So if you are attempting to seek social security disability it is important to keep the above in mind when assessing your eligibility for Social Security benefits.

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