There are several factors that can determine if you can qualify for disability benefits due to alcoholism.
While alcohol and drug abuse may contribute to many physical problems, it may also make it difficult to find gainful employment.
Fortunately, SSA will not penalize you for using drugs and alcohol during treatment.
However, you will not qualify for benefits if you’re only in outpatient treatment.
SSA doesn’t have to establish a drug or alcohol addiction to get disability benefits
If you have a serious physical condition, such as amputation, the SSA may consider whether you suffer from a substance use disorder.
The agency will consult with medical experts to determine if substance use is a material factor in determining your disability.
If substance use is causing or contributing to your limitations, SSA may not award benefits.
SSA medical examiners review disability claims involving substance abuse to determine if the person would still be disabled if the substance did not cause the condition.
In many cases, alcohol and drug use are considered “material” to the claim.
In other cases, however, the substance use may not be enough to qualify a claim.
However, the SSA does not require that a person has a drug or alcohol addiction to qualify for benefits.
The agency will look at the severity of the impairment and how long the person has been disabled.
Although the SSA does not list substance abuse in its Blue Book, impairments caused by substance use include brain damage, seizures, pancreatitis, liver damage, peripheral neuropathy, gastritis, anxiety, and personality disorders.
Although the SSA does not have to establish a drug or alcohol addiction in order to deny disability benefits, it does require that a person be legally incapable of performing their current work duties.
People with substance use disorders should consult with a disability attorney to help them prove that their impairment is a physical condition.
If you are denied disability benefits, you can still appeal the SSA’s decision.
However, it is important to remember that you have a limited time frame to appeal.
The SSA will begin a review of your case within six to eighteen months.
If you are successful, you may be able to return to work and continue receiving benefits.
Whether or not you are eligible for SSDI benefits depends on your age and occupation.
Those born in the United States, permanent residents, and nonimmigrant visa workers can receive SSDI benefits.
The minimum work credit requirement for SSDI benefits is 40 work credits. A work credit is equal to one dollar and ten cents earned.
However, younger workers without 40 work credits may qualify, but it is important to seek an attorney’s advice if you aren’t sure.
If your disability is temporary, SSA does not have to establish a drug or alcohol addiction for short-term disability benefits.
Instead, the SSA will take into account your resources.
Assets include real estate, stocks, bonds, savings, and checking accounts.
The maximum amount of assets for an individual is $2,000, and that amount increases for married couples.
However, SSA will still accept your disability payments during this trial period because it encourages you to try working.
Even if the SSA does not have to prove a drug or alcohol addiction to get short-term disability benefits, it is a good idea to seek medical care and follow any prescriptions your doctor may issue.
This will help ensure that you have a medical record to support your claims. Additionally, failing to follow medical treatment may result in the termination of benefits.
Social Security won’t penalize you for continuing to use drugs or alcohol while in treatment
If you are in treatment for alcoholism, you will not be penalized by Social Security for your continued use of drugs or alcohol.
Although federal law and regulations state that Social Security should not penalize you for continuing to use alcohol or drugs while in treatment, the regulations are not as clear.
SSA regulations and laws only address certain circumstances where drug or alcohol use contributes to impairment severity.
Depending on the type of treatment program you seek, the cost can be very high.
If you are uninsured, you may need to apply for private financing.
However, some addiction treatment centers offer scholarships for those who can’t afford to pay the full price.
Check with the admissions office at the treatment facility to determine if they offer such scholarships.
In addition, some rehabs offer payment plans after discharge.
SSA won’t cover outpatient treatment for alcoholism
If you’re looking to qualify for disability benefits, you may need to find out if you can receive coverage for outpatient treatment for alcoholism.
If you do, you can claim that alcoholism is a factor in your disability claim.
SSA will consider alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and mental illness in their determination process.
However, these conditions do not preclude you from filing for disability.
In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must show that you have an illness or a condition that prevents you from working.
If you’re suffering from a severe heart condition, the SSA won’t approve your application for disability benefits unless alcoholism interferes with your ability to work or makes your condition worse.
If you’re under 65, you can apply for Medicare coverage, but be aware that detox clinics aren’t covered by Medicare.
This is because these facilities are not affiliated with a general hospital or psychiatric hospital.
However, if you’re over 65, you can still receive coverage for alcoholism treatment at a private facility.