Substance addiction and Social Security disability

Substance abuse has become an ever-growing problem across Florida and the country as a whole. Those who suffer from an addiction can face significant hardship in their personal and professional lives. As scientists continue to study addiction, there is growing consensus that addiction is a disease. With that in mind, many may find themselves wondering if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits if their addiction has rendered them unable to work.

The Social Security Administration does not grant SSD benefits simply for having an addiction, but the effects of an addiction may qualify one for the benefits he or she needs. For example, an individual with a substance abuse addiction may qualify for SSD benefits if the addiction has caused the individual to suffer an anxiety disorder that leaves him or her disabled. The same holds true if the addiction causes liver damage, pancreatitis or seizures.

In order to see if an individual qualifies for Social Security disability, these individuals need to assess each disabling condition under its own listing. For anxiety disorders, for example, the sufferer must show one of several anxiety-related conditions, including panic attacks, resulting in significant restriction in day-to-day living activities, social functioning, concentration or decompensation.

Analyzing disability under these specific conditions can be challenging, and there may be more than one way to illustrate that an individual meets the definition of disabled regarding that given condition. This is why it may be a good idea for those suffering with substance abuse addiction who are unable to work to speak with an experienced attorney about the possibility of receiving SSD benefits. A qualified attorney can help them assess their situation through the lens of the law and develop a plan moving forward that supports their best interests.

Source: Social Security Administration, “12.00 Mental Disorders – Adult,” accessed on Nov. 7, 2016


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