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Why substance abuse can be a reason to deny SSDI applications

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is an important safety net for individuals who are unable to work due to disabilities. However, in Texas, substance abuse can be a factor that leads to the denial of SSDI applications.

Understanding the reasons behind this decision can help individuals navigate the application process.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for SSDI benefits, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria. One is proving the existence of a disabling condition that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. Substance abuse, particularly if it could be a contributing factor material to the determination of disability, can complicate the assessment of whether an individual meets this criterion.

Medical evidence and substance abuse

When reviewing SSDI applications, the Social Security Administration considers medical evidence. Substance abuse can cloud the evaluation process. It may be challenging to discern the extent to which the disability is a result of the substance abuse itself or a separate, disabling condition.

Impact on functioning

One key aspect the SSA considers is the impact of the disability on an individual’s daily functioning. Substance abuse can make existing impairments worse. It can also create new ones, leading to a more complex determination of disability.

For example, if an individual’s substance abuse contributes to impaired cognitive function or the inability to maintain consistent employment, the SSA may scrutinize the application more closely.

Treatment and rehabilitation

About 11.3 million people in Texas may have substance use disorder. The SSA acknowledges the potential for individuals with substance abuse issues to benefit from treatment and rehabilitation.

If an applicant can demonstrate active participation in a treatment program and a commitment to overcoming their substance abuse problem, it may positively influence the disability determination process. However, mere participation may not be sufficient. The severity and chronicity of the substance abuse issue also come into play.

Understanding the implications of substance abuse on SSDI applications underscores the importance of seeking appropriate treatment. Providing comprehensive medical evidence to establish eligibility is also necessary.