Social Security Has New Drug and Alcohol Policy

On February 20, 2013, The Social Security Administrated published a new ruling, SSR 13-2p, entitled “Evaluating Cases Involving Drug Addiction and Alcoholism.” It appears in Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 34 (Docket No. SSA-2012-0006).

The policy clarifies and replaces prior policies, which essentially prohibited a granting of Social Security Disability, for claimants who had an active drug and/or alcohol policy. The key factor in the the new policy is whether a given claimant would still be found disabled, if he or she stopped using drugs or alcohol. In other words, if the drug or alcohol addiction was not a material aspect of the disability, it might still be possible for a Social Security Judge to determine that a given claimant was disabled.

An example of such a situation, according to Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., might be an individual with a psychotic disorder, who started using alcohol to relieve symptoms. This scenario is not uncommon, particularly when the psychiatric care is inadequate or non-existent. Another example would be a chronic pain patient, who utilized illicit drugs such as marijuana, in order to relieve symptoms.

Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents individuals in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida

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