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Can you get benefits if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol?

It is a common myth that Social Security pays benefits to those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs on the simple basis that they are addicted. You may have heard people in Georgia or on social media complaining about people being able to get benefits just because they have an addiction. However, this is not true. The Social Security Administration explains that you cannot get benefits just because you have an alcohol or drug addiction. You actually must meet specific criteria to qualify to get benefits.

As with any other condition, the Social Security Administration requires that you have a qualifying medical condition. Alcoholism or drug addiction is not a condition on its own. You have to provide medical proof that your addiction is a factor to a disability that prevents you from working. So, you actually need to have a medical condition besides the addiction to qualify you. The qualifying disability could be mental or physical in nature.

However, there is another qualification the SSA looks at when making a determination. The SSA will look at whether your addiction is causing the disability. If they find that you would no longer be unable to work or have a disability if you stopped using drugs or alcohol, then you will be denied for benefits. The only way to qualify is if you would still be unable to work and have a disability even if you stopped using drugs or alcohol.

This information is provided as education only. It is not intended to be taken as legal advice.