We hear a lot in the news about drug addiction and alcohol (DAA) use affecting a person’s mental stability.  A lot of people are calling for more help for individuals who have drug action and alcohol use problems.  We believe there should be more programs to help individuals suffering from these issues.  Unfortunately, the stigma that surrounds people suffering from drug addiction and alcohol use problems is not just in our communities but the government also has placed a burden on individuals suffering from drug addiction and alcohol use.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) can specifically deny someone social security disability benefits if that person is found to have a drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction which is a medically determine impairment and is material.  The Social Security Administration refers to this as DAA.

Whenever the record reflects any kind of substance abuse whether it be legal and/or illegal drugs or alcohol,  SSA has the following test to determine if a person is disqualified from receiving disability benefits:

  1. First, SSA will determine whether the drug and/or alcohol use rises to the level of DAA as defined by their laws. To be determined DAA, the drug and/or alcohol use must rise to the level of a Medically Determined Impairment (MDI). This means the DAA is diagnosed as “maladaptive” as defined by the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.  (*It’s important to note that SSA does not consider nicotine use disorder as a disqualifying DAA.)
  2. If SSA finds the drug addiction and/or alcohol use rises to the level of DAA as defined above, then they must determine if the DAA is material. To be considered “material” the DAA use must contribute to or worsening to a person’s medical impairment.  (Example – If the underlying medical condition such as seizures would improve if the person stopped using drugs or alcohol, then the DAA will be found to be material.  However, if the underlying medical condition would still qualify the person even without the use of drugs and/or alcohol, then it should not be considered material.

The bottom line is if you believe you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits based upon your drug addiction and/or alcohol use, give us a call for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your case.  1-833-LAW-STONE