Q: Will my documented drug dependence affect my SSDI claim?
If you have a documented drug dependence this can definitely add a layer of complication to your SSDI claim, but this does not necessarily mean you will not be able to receive benefits. Social Security isn't going to see the drug use and automatically deny you because they understand drugs can play a variety of roles when it comes to a person's disability.
First of all, if your only alleged disability is a drug or alcohol addiction, you will not be able to receive disability benefits. While an addiction can certainly disable someone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not grant SSDI benefits based solely on addiction.
If you do have another disability, in addition to a drug or alcohol dependence, the SSA will look at that disability first. In the event your disability is one that would be approved for benefits, the SSA will then look at your addiction and how it contributes to your disability. They're going to ask themselves, "Would this person still be suffering from this disability if it were not for their addiction to drugs or alcohol?" If the answer is yes, then you should have no problem being approved.
If your drug or alcohol dependence directly caused your disability, the SSA is going to dig a little deeper into the situation. They are going to try and figure out if your disability would still exist if you beat your addiction; if the answer is no, then you will probably not be approved for benefits. If they determine that although your addiction caused your disability, stopping now would do nothing to fix things, they will usually approve the benefits.
Every SSDI case is different, so none of this information should be taken as professional legal advice. This is simply what could happen in certain situations involving SSDI benefits and drug or alcohol addictions.
If you know someone with a drug or alcohol dependence who is currently trying to apply for SSDI benefits, please share this article with them.