Do alcohol and drugs play a role in the disability benefit process?
Sometimes, using drugs and alcohol can be a reason that Social Security Administration — SSA — decides to ignore your disability as well as symptoms you are having and deny your claim. It is still possible that you can receive disability benefits if you are using drugs and alcohol. SSA can deny your claim based on this, but this also depends on your medical condition that you are applying for.
How Alcohol and Drugs Are Viewed Toward Claim Examiners Even subtle use of drugs and alcohol can contribute to conditions such as depression, sleep apnea, insomnia, and anxiety. Because drugs and alcohol as used as a subjective idea, your claim can be denied by SSA.
Can Drugs and Alcohol Be Considered A Factor to an Impairment?
If drugs and alcohol are a material contributing factor to the medical condition, then chances are high that the claimant will not with its claim. Based on these questions, materiality is determined:
1. Does the medical condition get worse when using drugs and alcohol?
2. Would the medical condition get better if the claimant stopped using drugs and alcohol?
If a claimant answers yes to either of these questions, they will be found ineligible and will not be able to receive disability benefits. This is an evaluation that is called drug and alcohol abuse — DAA — determination.
Will the Condition Get Better If You Don’t Use Alcohol or Drugs?
During the process of reviewing an applicants application, a judge will question medical conditions that are discussed in the application and will discuss the role of substances with the condition. If they think a condition will get better once alcohol and drugs are out of the picture, then the claimant will not be awarded benefits until this has stopped.
Who Decides If a Condition Will Get Better After Stopping?
A doctor who works for SSA will provide their opinion on the medical condition and all the factors that play into it based on the presence of alcohol and drugs. SSA will also speak with the claimants doctor as well. Once both opinions are taken into consideration, SSA will decide whether the effects of stopping the use of alcohol and drugs will be beneficial or not.
During an appeal, at the hearing, judges don’t have to consider the opinions of either medical professional on the matter. The judge can make his/her own decision based on the results and factors of drugs and alcohol on the claimants condition. You should be careful when filling out your application and mentioning the use of drugs and alcohol for this can be a touchy subject during disability benefits. Have a disability attorney help you during this time.