Substance Addiction Disorder

Social Security Disability Benefits | Herren LawFrom drugs and prescription medications to alcohol, the rate of substance addiction in Houston and the outlying areas is significantly high. Although the Houston statistics match many other large cities in the United States, there are still thousands of people in Houston alone suffering from the dire weight of drugs and alcohol. At Herren Law, we fully understand that substance abuse is not a criminal matter. Being addicted to various substances is a mental health issue, and whether you are suffering from ongoing drug use or you face debilitating physical or mental impairments from past substance abuse, you need the financial freedom to focus on your illness.

Therefore, you deserve social security disability benefits if you are unable to work based on your disorder. The Social Security Administration (SSA) places mental health disorders on its list of eligibility requirements for benefits. At the same time, the SSA does not approve many individuals on the basis of drug addiction alone. Social stigmas related addicts often prevent individuals from receiving benefits. Sadly, when drug addiction has left an individual entirely impaired, either physically, mentally, or both, the SSA finally considers the individual disabled in the eyes of the government. With this in mind, winning disability benefits on the basis of addiction can be arduous.

Definition of Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern leading to clinically significant impairment or distress caused by one or more of the following:

  • Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work
  • Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
  • Recurrent substance-related legal problems
  • Continued substance use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance

As mentioned above, fulfilling the criteria for clinical substance abuse does not instantly make you a suitable candidate for disability benefits from the SSA. In essence, the SSA determines whether you are unable to work due to physical or mental impairments caused by a substance addiction disorder. According to the SSA, substance addiction disorder fall under Chapter 12.00 of the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, titled Mental Disorders – Adult.

Among other mental illness, the SSA defines substance addiction under Chapter 12.09 Substance Addiction Disorders. In essence, a substance addiction disorder is a behavioral change or physical change associated with the regular use of substances that affect the central nervous system. Individuals meet the required level of disability severity with at least one of the following:

Having a clinical diagnosis of substance addiction disorder allows you to get the help you need. To get disability benefits for your disorder, however, requires meeting the strict criteria set forth by the SSA.

Basic Eligibility for Disability Benefits

After filing a claim for disability benefits, the SSA evaluates three basic eligibility requirements to see if meet the criteria for disability benefits. If you do not meet these requirements, the SSA could automatically deny your claim. The three basic eligibility requirements include:

  • You cannot earn more than $1,090 or more a month from work
  • Your condition must be expected to last longer than 12 months
  • Substance addiction disorder must severely impact your ability to work

If you do meet these requirements, the SSA will move forward with a thorough investigation. In this case, the SSA makes sure that your application meets the qualifying conditions in Chapter 12.09.

Other Considerations When Applying For Benefits

Every aspect of the application process is essential when trying to get disability benefits for your condition. With this in mind, it is essential to include any documentation from doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and so forth. If your substance addiction has left you with a mental disorder, you should also acquire psychiatric reports showing the severity of your condition. Even if you don’t meet all the requirements, you can still possibly win your claim if you have significant functional limitations. For mental and physical illnesses, the SSA evaluates your residual functional capacity (RFC). This evaluation determines the work-related impairments resulting from your impairments.

Contact a Leading Houston Disability Attorney

Winning disability benefits based on a substance addiction disorder can be quite burdensome, but it is possible. From the application stage to defending your case in court, the Houston disability attorneys at Herren Law fight with a compassionate ear, diligent investigation strategies, and aggressive litigation tactics if the case has to go to court. The mental health world has been considering substance addiction as a mental health problem for some time, and addiction’s debilitating effects on work must be considered in a larger sense, especially by the SSA.

We are ready to help with industry-based knowledge, and we can help you build the strongest case possible. We will aggressively pursue your rights and interests. Contact Herren Law in Houston today at (800) 529-7707 today for a free consultation.