If you are addicted to a substance, you might be worried about how this might affect your SSDI claim. However, whether or not the substance you are addicted to is a prescribed narcotic will also matter. The SSDI does not treat addiction to prescribed medication in the same way as an addiction to an illicit drug. However, you will still want to discuss this with a social security lawyer.
When you are abusing an illicit substance, you will not be eligible for benefits if the problem that requires that you obtain SSDI benefits was caused by the substance and your condition would improve if you stopped abusing the substance. Instead, these limitations and side effects will be ignored.
However, if you are prescribed a medication and take the medication as it is prescribed, the SSDI will not ignore the effects and limitations of the medication and will take it into consideration when determining if you are disabled.
Disability Benefits for Addiction
The SSA will not grant disability benefits for addiction to a prescribed medication even when the medication is taken as prescribed. However, the disability benefits may be granted if a physical or mental disorder is being treated by the prescribed medication that you have become addicted to.
The SSA will be more likely to deny your SSDI benefits if there is evidence that you are not taking the prescribed medication as instructed. For example, if you are taking a larger quantity than what is prescribed or if you are using an incorrect method when ingesting the prescribed medication, such as snorting, you may have your SSDI benefits denied.
Prescription Medication Side Effects
Because the use of a prescription medication is a part of your doctor-patient relationship, any side effects that you suffer as a result of the medication and any addiction you may be suffering from will be considered a part of the severity of your condition.
For example, if you must take a prescription medication and this medication leads to you feeling more fatigued than normal, which makes it difficult for you to work, the SSA will take this into consideration when determining if you are disabled.
However, the use of prescription medications and the relationship to your disability can be very complex, and a claim denial can lead to delays in your payment. Therefore, you will want to speak with a Social Security Disability lawyer when you find yourself in this situation.