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Alcohol and Disability Benefits
Posted in: Social Security Disability on August 23rd, 2011

alcohol and disabilityThere are many rumors that swirl around the process of receiving either Supplemental Security Income  or Social Security Disability benefits, particularly where alcohol is concerned.  Many people wonder how or if the use of alcohol or drugs will have any effect on them being approved or denied for benefits.  How does alcohol figure into the process of disability, and what steps should claimants take to ensure that they receive benefits?

The Key Is Materiality

Materiality is used to determine whether or not current or past alcohol use will affect your claims for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.  Essentially, the reviewers will look at your case and then determine whether alcohol use seems to be a contributing factor to your disability.  For example, if a claimant had an advanced case of liver dysfunction and it was found that drinking alcohol would not have an effect one way or another on the medical condition, alcohol would be considered immaterial, since the condition would already be terminal at that stage.  Benefits would be awarded.

On the other hand, if it is shown that reduction or elimination of alcohol consumption would slow or even reverse the liver dysfunction, then an applicant would be denied benefits, as ceasing the consumption of alcohol would result in an improvement to the applicant’s health.

As of this point, it is not possible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income based on dependence alone – alcohol addiction is not considered a disability.

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