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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Medical-Vocational Rules and Addiction

  • Published: August 1, 2011

One of the ways in which the Social Security Administration finds people to be disabled is through medical-vocational listings. The first step in doing so is figuring out what job-related tasks an applicant is able to do in spite of any impairment. This is known as a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. Then, the RFC assessment is used to determine whether the claimant is able to do any significant job that he or she has done in the past fifteen years. If that is not the case, then the Social Security Administration will take the RFC assessment into a work level that has been defined in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles: medium, light, or sedentary. A combination of the claimant’s RFC assessment, age, work experience, and educational level is what determines whether or not that person is considered disabled. Your Ocala disability attorney will be able to explain if the guidelines apply in your case.

Determining whether or not a drug or alcohol addiction is material means assessing whether or not it could factor into the determination of disability. A substance problem can only be used as part of the determination of disability if its effects are present in the hypothetical situation of the claimant ceasing his or her use of the substance in question. That is, if the applicant for benefits were to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, the symptoms leading to a determination of disability would still be present. For example, if an individual has liver disease as a result of drinking, the disease would still be present even if the claimant has quit drinking; though it was alcohol that caused the problem, ceasing drinking would not solve the issue, and so the claimant would be eligible for benefits on those grounds.

A qualified Ocala disability lawyer will be able to explain if the medical-vocational guidelines apply in your case as well as if any possible substance abuse issues would be material or not. Contact Ocala disability attorney CJ Henry for a consultation on your specific case.

Claudeth Henry

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