By: Disability Group Do alcoholics and d…

By: Disability Group

Do alcoholics and drug addicts really receive Social Security disability benefits?

No.  Although in the past administrative law judges may have awarded disability benefits to some claimants who became disabled due to alcoholism or drug addiction, current federal law prohibits Social Security from paying disability benefits on the basis of alcoholism or drug addiction.  Individuals, who, however, become disabled due to other impairments such as heart attacks and strokes, may be awarded benefits for their impairments so long as these impairments are apart from their substance abuse. 

I don’t appear disabled; will the administrative law judge hold that against me at the hearing?

The administrative law judge will consider many factors during your hearing in order to determine whether you are entitled to benefits.  Although the administrative law judge may consider physical attributes such as your general appearance at the hearing or whether or not you are using a cane or a walker, it is a well known fact that many people who may appear very healthy are actually disabled.  This may be especially true for individuals whose illnesses are mental in nature.   It is important to remember that the administrative law judge will look first to the description of your symptoms and impairments in your doctor’s medical records. 

My doctor has stated I am disabled, why isn’t this enough for me to win my claim?

Ultimately, the finding of disability is determined by Social Security, who has set up it’s own definition as well as additional requirements needed for an individual to be considered “disabled.”  While the opinion of your doctor will be very important in proving your claim, Social Security is entitled by law to consider other factors, including the opinions of other doctors.

The VA/State Disability/DMV found that I am disabled, why is Social Security denying my claim?

While Social Security may consider the opinions of the VA and other organization or agencies, the Social Security Administration is not bound by these decisions.  Social Security’s standard for finding an individual disabled is different than the standard used by the VA or other agencies and organizations.

Why does it seem like my claim is taking so much longer to be scheduled for a hearing than the claim of my friend or relative?

It may seem that way, but if two claims are pending before the same exact hearing office and were filed at close to the same time, it is likely the wait time for these claims to be scheduled will be close to the same.  The wait times for various hearing office do, however, vary state to state and within that state, between various local hearing offices.  Nationally, the wait time for a hearing can be anywhere between twelve to sixteen months.  These wait times are actually a part of the public data published by Social Security.  No law firm can expedite the scheduling of a hearing.  There are, however, specific circumstances in which Social Security may expedite a case to a hearing such as in the case of a terminally ill claimant or if there is a dire financial situation a claimant is facing.  

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