Drug Addiction and Social Security Disability
There are many forms of Drug Addiction – some more serious than others. In some cases a Drug Addiction can have a significant impact on one's life. While many Drug Addictions begin slowly and seem harmless to begin with, over time they can wreak havoc and devastation on a person's lifestyle, relationships and even their ability to maintain a job. When a Drug Addiction takes over one's life, it can be impossible to generate a stable income. Some people wonder if it is possible to obtain Social Security Disability benefits due to a Drug Addiction and the debilitating effects it may have on a person's finances. If you are wondering whether or not a Drug Addiction is a qualifying disability for Social Security benefits, the following information can help you understand what a Drug Addiction is and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) views disability claims based on an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Drug Addiction - Condition and Symptoms
Drug Addiction comes in many forms. Some individuals are addicted to legal drugs, such as caffeine or nicotine, and others are addicted to illegal drugs, such as crack and speed. The severity of Drug Addictions can range from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Almost everyone is addicted to something. Do you get headaches when you haven't had your morning cup of coffee? Then you're probably addicted to caffeine. Some people are addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. Others are addicted to more serious drugs, such as crack or heroin. No matter what the addiction is, one thing is certain – if a Drug Addiction goes untreated it will get worse over time.
Some people suffer very few effects due to a Drug Addiction. For example, an addiction to caffeine or nicotine won't likely result in a breakdown of relationships or an inability to maintain employment. An addiction to heavy narcotics, on the other hand, can be very devastating to one's lifestyle. In some cases, a Drug Addiction can result in the inability to sustain substantial gainful employment and addicts find it increasingly difficult to keep a job.
Some of the people who suffer from a Drug Addiction don't realize they have a problem until it is pointed out to them or until they reach rock bottom. Some common symptoms of a Drug Addiction include frequent use of the drug, a need to increase the dosage or frequency of the drug to achieve the desired effect, physical withdrawals when the drug is not taken, stealing or performing out-of-character actions to obtain the drug, driving when under the influence of the drug, giving up friends or family in favor of the drug, allowing use of the drug to interfere with work and becoming defense when asked about the use of the drug.
Sometimes drug use is an indication of an underlying condition and many of the people who suffer from mental illness try to self medicate with prescription medications and illegal drugs. This is very common for people who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorder conditions.
While there is no cure for a Drug Addiction, treatment is available. Once a person is addicted to a drug, that addiction will always be there. However, the addiction can be managed with psychotherapy, withdrawal therapy and prescription medications that can alleviate the withdrawal symptoms an addict may suffer. It is important to understand that individuals who suffer from Drug Addictions need ongoing treatment in order to maintain abstinence from the drug they are addicted to.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Drug Addiction
The SSA will not grant Social Security Disability benefits based on a Drug Addiction. In fact, a Drug Addiction may prevent you from obtaining the Social Security Disability benefits you may otherwise be entitled to. For example, if you suffer from bipolar disorder and are not undergoing proper treatment for the condition and are trying to self-medicate with illegal drugs, your Social Security Disability application is likely to be denied. You will need to recover from your addiction and undergo necessary treatment for your bipolar disorder in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
With that being said, it is important to note that you may be able to get Social Security Disability benefits while suffering from a drug addiction if you have a disability that qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits and your drug addiction has no effect whatsoever on your particular disability. For example, if you have an advanced stage of cancer that would qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits and you are addicted to pain killers, the SSA will likely approve your claim for disability benefits.
Drug Addiction and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits based on a Drug Addiction, your claim will be denied and no stage of appeal will overturn that decision. On the other hand, if you apply for disability benefits based on a qualifying condition and you are denied benefits because of your Drug Addiction, you may want to appeal the decision if your Drug Addiction has no impact on your disability.
If you are filing for disability benefits due to a drug addiction or have already been denied, you may want to hire a Social Security Disability attorney to represent you in your disability claim. Hiring a disability lawyer will increase your chances of filing a successful disability claim.
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