The issue of substance abuse can come up in a variety of ways as part of a Social Security disability claim. It might be a circumstance, very routine in this day and age, where somebody is taking too much of their narcotic medication. Or, one might be taking medications that their friend or relative has suggested they try. And then, there’s the very common scenario seen by our office where an individual is smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol in order to help them sleep at night.
Each of above scenarios can serve to derail a Social Security disability claim. Understanding Social Security’s rules can help avoid the pitfalls we many times see individuals face as a result of the use of substances either not prescribed or in a manner that was not provided for by their physician(s).
There are two (2) provisions to keep in mind when considering an application for Social Security disability benefits. 20. C.F.R. §404.1530 provides that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not find a claimant disabled if they, without good reason, fail to follow prescribed treatment. Likewise, the Social Security Act additionally provides that one cannot be found entitled to benefits if in fact drug addiction or alcoholism is found to be a “contributing factor material to the determination of disability.”