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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Questions of Drug Addiction or Alcoholism: Am I Still Eligible?

  • Published: March 13, 2014

People with drug or alcohol problems sometimes wonder if they might be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. An Ocala Social Security disability lawyer can tell you that drug or alcohol addiction might be a factor in deciding your eligibility. In short, you will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your addiction is found to be a “contributing factor material to the determination of disability.”

How Addiction Is Determined by the Social Security Administration

Here is how the process works: Your claim will be evaluated according to the five-step sequential evaluation process that every claim for disability benefits goes through. If the Social Security Administration finds you not disabled at any one of the steps, that is the end of the process. However, if you are found disabled, then the SSA will move on to considering the impact of your addiction or alcoholism on your claim. If you have problems with drugs or alcohol, talk to your Ocala Social Security disability attorney about what this means for your claim.

Is Alcoholism or a Drug Addiction Involved in Your Claim?

As the final step in the process, the SSA will ask whether drug addiction or alcoholism is involved in your claim. Drug addiction or alcoholism is treated like other impairments according to SSA regulations. This means it must be established by medical evidence that comes from an acknowledged medical source such as a doctor, osteopath or licensed psychologist. If you are claiming an addiction, you and your Ocala Social Security disability lawyer must present evidence that satisfies the diagnostic requirements for a “substance use disorder” or “substance dependence” as found in the DSM-IV, the standard manual by the American Psychiatric Association for diagnosing mental disorders. In other words, your own statements that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is not enough to meet the criteria. You and your Ocala Social Security disability attorney need to present evidence.

If you have more questions about how addiction might impact your claim for disability benefits, contact an Ocala Social Security disability lawyer. Call CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC at 352.304.5300.

Claudeth Henry

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