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.
However, answering whether or not the mental impairment is made a "disabling" one by substance abuse is as thorny an issue as you can find. Often times, it's imperative that the claimant provide a professional opinion by their treating psychologist as to the impact of substance abuse on their condition.
This is a key factor in making a determination as to awarding of benefits.
Of course, the only real way to demonstrate that substance abuse is not material to the impairing condition mental or physical is to cease drug or alcohol use.
Short of that, a claimant's physician's recommendation and documentation are a must for establishing likely-hood that the impairing condition would still leave them unable to work absent the use of drugs or alcohol. In either case, consulting an experienced disability attorney is essential to filing the strongest disability claim possible.
Of course, in cases where an individual's disability or injuries are the result of another individual's or entity's actions or negligence, you should always consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
The attorneys at Panio Law Offices are experts in documenting evidence, filing your personal injury claim and winning damages for our clients. We understand what steps to take to ensure a greater chance of success in winning damages for your personal injury claim.
If you do have questions about a personal injury claim, call (708) 928-8680. We can help.