Can I get disability benefits if I have an addiction?

Many people in the Stockton, California, area work hard and have families, yet quietly struggle with a drug addiction or with alcoholism. As such habits have a tendency to do, however, they eventually can take a toll on one's body and leave a person suffering with a debilitating medical condition that, quite frankly, they might not have developed had they not had a struggle with drugs or alcohol.

While drug addiction and alcoholism are not themselves going to qualify a person for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, a Californian can and should seek out the benefits they need if they are facing a physical health problem that keeps them out of work, even though the problem is related to drugs or alcohol.

Generally speaking, Social Security is a no-fault system, meaning that if a person has a qualifying medical condition, proves they cannot work because of it and otherwise meets all legal requirements, the Social Security Administration is not going to question how the disability started.

However, there is an important caveat to this rule. The Administration can make a finding that a person's drug and alcohol problem contributed to the person's disabling condition. If the Administration does so, then the person will be expected to go to and complete drug or alcohol treatment. Usually, this treatment will be offered at no cost to the disabled person, but not completing the treatment program can mean the loss or suspension of disability benefits.

Someone who has allowed an addiction to ruin their health may feel ashamed and embarrassed by it, but they can rest assured that they are still eligible to collect benefits that are designed to help them with bills and replacement income, the two of which can serve to help a person get back on their feet.

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