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Can You Qualify for Drug and Alcohol Disability Benefits?

If you dabbled in illicit drugs or abused alcohol during your younger days, you likely know that you’re not alone.

In 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that an estimated 9.4% of the population used an illicit drug within the last month. It was also reported that 10.9% of Americans over the age of 12 had driven under the influence of alcohol at least once within the past year.

Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use can often come at a steep physical and even mental health cost, whether directly causing injuries if you’re involved in an accident, aggravating chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, or even causing you to develop new ailments.

If you’re no longer able to hold down full-time employment due to disabilities caused by your drug or alcohol use, you may wonder whether or not you can qualify for benefits.

While Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available for drug and alcohol users in some situations, this is a nuanced and highly fact-specific area of the law. Read on to learn more about the laws, rules and regulations governing the issuance of federal disability benefits to illicit drug and alcohol users.

 

Does Diabetes Make You Eligible for Social Security or SSI Benefits?

Diabetes can have a severe impact on your life. There are several complications that may come with diabetes, and the extra medical care you need can be expensive. However, diabetes by itself not enough to qualify you for social security disability benefits.

These benefits are in place to help those who have conditions that keep them from earning enough money to live on. Because diabetes can often be managed with insulin, lifestyle changes and other medical interventions, many diabetics can still work and have a successful career.

 

So, when does having diabetes qualify you for Social Security assistance? Here’s what you need to know. 

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis May Qualify You for Social Security Disability Benefits

Doctor Symptoms ChartMultiple sclerosis—an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system—attacks the myelin, or fatty substance, surrounding nerve fibers. While some people suffer symptoms that come and go, for other individuals, the disease is progressive and disabling.

Damage to the myelin and encased nerve fibers lead to disruption of nerve signals from the brain to the body, and this disruption can cause physical and mental impairment. Therefore, if you can’t work because of your MS symptoms, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Mental Health Injuries

Social Security with Shield Icon – Red Button on Black Computer Keyboard.

Many people struggle daily with injuries that are invisible to those around them. Depression, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, can be difficult to explain, quantify, and prove.

It’s easier for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept the application of someone with diabetes or cancer, simply because these injuries are simple to document medically, and the limitations associated with the injuries are more straightforward to assess. 

TIPS FOR FILING YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY OR SSI APPLICATION

1. Make a list of your providers with their names, addresses and phone numbers, and the years you saw them. You do not have to gather records to file an application. You do need to have the contact information for Social Security or your attorney to get the records. Include all of your providers, even if they did not treat your primary issue. 

2. Have a list of your marriages, with dates and location of marriage and divorce.

3. List all of your impairments, even if it is not your primary impairment. 

4. Decide when you were last able to work. As a guide, look at when you became unable to earn at least $1,000 in a month due to your disability. 

5. Have the name and address of your last employer and be able to accurately describe your job: not the title, but what you actually did. 

6. Don’t wait! People sometimes hope they will improve. We hope so too, but you can still file, just in case you don’t. If you do improve, and you’ve been unable to work for a year, you can ask for a “closed period of disability” for the time you could not work. Administrative law judge often look favorably on these requests.

June 2017 Glen Cook Social Security Blog

When applying for Social Security Disability, one of the first questions asked is “How much will my monthly benefit be?” The answer is based on how much you earned while working. If you had relatively low earnings when working, your monthly Social Security benefit will be relatively low. Alternatively, if your earnings were higher, your monthly Social Security benefit will be higher. In 2017, the highest monthly Social Security benefit is $2,687 a month.

Did you know you can find out how much your monthly Social Security benefit will be? Go to Social Sec’s own website: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/