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Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer | Panio Law Offices

Substance Abuse, Disability and Eligibility

Until the late '90s, disability claims based solely on drug and alcohol abuse could typically be awarded benefits. The policy was generally observed by Social Security Administration officials across the country.

But since the early 2000s, disability claims based solely on drug and alcohol abuse have been routinely denied.

Many now believe that a disability claim where drug and alcohol abuse is a "material" factor cannot be awarded benefits. But that, in fact, is not true.

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Disability and Substance Abuse

Unlike physical disability caused or impacted by ongoing drug or alcohol abuse, mental disability or impairment aggravated by drug use is a very gray area for Social Security administrators to adjudicate.

Disability claims that involve mental impairment and substance abuse often hinge on the same questions physical impairment/substance abuse claims pose. Determining how the claimant’s substance abuse affects their impairment and ability to work is critical to determining eligibility.

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