Will Drugs or Alcohol Use Hurt Your Chances at Collecting Disability Benefits?
Whether or not your disability benefits are denied is based on a few different factors. First, you need to meet the basic requirements, such as an inability to work and a condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or be terminal. Beyond that, medical documentation is needed to back up your condition. Substance use or abuse can affect whether or not you receive disability benefits.
You need to ask yourself, is alcohol or drug use a contributing factor to the impairment? The answer to this question is important in determining whether or not you will be able to collect disability benefits. There are different things to consider.
Consider the following in regards to substance use and disability claims:
– Does the use contribute to the condition?
If the drug or alcohol abuse is a material contributing factor to the impairment, you will be denied benefits. This is determined by taking a look at your condition separate from this abuse. If you would still be found disabled if you stopped the abuse, you could receive benefits.
– How is it determined if the abuse is a material contributing factor?
Your current physical and mental limitations will be evaluated. If, after taking out the issues caused by alcohol or drugs, your limitations would still qualify for disability benefits, you would be approved. If these limitations are still disabling, then it will be found that your alcohol or drug use is not a contributing factor.
– You will need to supply medical evidence.
As with any disability claim, you will need to provide substantial medical evidence. This will need to prove that your disabling limitations are independent from your alcohol or drug abuse.
– It can be harder to prove if you suffer from a mental disability.
If you suffer from a mental disability, it can be more difficult to prove that it’s independent of drug or alcohol use. The professionals in these cases believe that this abuse contributes to mental conditions such as depression. In this case, the medical evidence may not be enough.
The question of, is alcohol or drug use a contributing factor to the impairment, is an important one in disability benefits. It can be hard to navigate through this process. If you have any questions, please contact us!