Will a drug/alcohol history hurt my Social Security Disability claim?

When I first speak with a potential client, I often ask whether there will be any drug or alcohol abuse in their records. People are understandably hesitant to talk about this aspect of their past; however, it is very important for a Disability attorney to know all relevant aspects of a client's life. So why is this a relevant question?

Drug/alcohol abuse can affect your Social Security Disability claim

The Social Security Administration has stated that drug or alcohol abuse does not automatically disqualify a person from recieving Disability benefits, but it can be something they consider for their determination. For example, if a person claims mental health issues, but recently tested positive for opiates, this will likely have a negative effect on their case. But if another person used drugs twenty years ago and now claims they are disabled due to back pain, this would be much less likely to harm their case.

As I stated in my previous post, Administrative Law Judges like to test whether the claimant is an honest person. If you've there is a record of your drug or alcohol problem, the ALJ likely already knows about it and may ask about it. BE HONEST. It will be far less damaging to your claim telling the truth about your history than being caught in a lie.

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