Can you get Social Security Disability for drug/alcohol addiction?

July 24, 2016

The answer to this question is essentially "kind of".  Social Security will not determine that you are disabled simply because you are addicted to a substance. However, if long term addiction to a substance has resulted in long term physical or mental symptoms that meet that qualifications for Disability, that may be a separate issue.

For example, the Social Security Administration even has a listing for substance addiction disorders which states that it covers "behavioral changes or physical changes associated with the regular use of substances that affect the central nervous system." Social Security then lists organic mental disorders, depressive syndrome, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, peripheral neuropathy, liver damage, gastritis, pancreatitis, and seizures. Though caused by substance addiction, this listing directs these impairments to be evaluated under each individual impairment's listing. Meaning to determine if you meet the listing for substance abuse due to your liver damage, you would use the corresponding listing of  "5.05 Chronic Liver Disease".



Aside from this question about addiction affecting your Disability case, there is also an entirely different conversation about whether a former or current addiction will inherently hurt your case. A Social Security Disability attorney can help determine which category your personal situation may fall under.

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