Va Disability For Alcoholism: Will You Be Able To Make A Claim
By now, you can see that claiming VA disability for alcoholism is not necessarily an easy process. However, if you are a veteran that needs this type of care, you shouldnt let anything stand in your way of getting it.
While alcoholism is a psychological disorder, it brings a variety of physical difficulties with it. If you can show that your alcohol abuse has brought about one of these difficulties, your claims chance of success may improve.
If you have questions, or if you want to begin a claim, get the right legal help on your side.;Contact us today;for a free claim evaluation.
The Link Between Mental Health Issues And Substance Use
The VA has shown that there is a strong correlation between mental health and substance and alcohol use disorders:
Filing a claim for compensation can help provide options for veterans with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. First, a medical evaluation can be conducted to determine the extent and primary diagnosis. An independent medical exam can often be utilized if a;VA C&P examiner;decides that the veterans substance use disorder precipitates their mental health disorder.
Most psychiatric treatment providers working with co-occurring disorders understand that there is usually a mental health disorder that causes the need for coping mechanisms, which is what the substance and alcohol use disorder usually stems from, a need to find a way to cope with something. Ensuring that an evaluation is done by a specialist who understands the concepts of co-occurring disorders is vital to a veterans claim.
Whats This About The Ada
The Americans with Disabilities Act offers protection to employees suffering from alcoholism.
However,;ADA rules;and guidelines;can be a bit murky. The ADA considers;substance abuse to be a disability but, much like the FMLA, contains;exceptions;for;substance abuse.
The ADA offers protection to employees to qualified alcoholics. These are addicts who can perform their job with or without any extra reasonable accommodations.
An employee suffering from alcoholism may claim reasonable accommodations under the ADA. As a general rule, reasonable accommodations typically consist of unpaid time off for the;purpose of;treatment. Employees may seek unpaid leave for the purposes of treatment. They may also request modified work schedules to attend treatment programs.
Note:;Under the ADA, employers may refuse to grant additional unpaid leave;if treatment has failed repeatedly in the past.
Prevalence Of Substance Abuse Disorder Among Veterans
;The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that 7.1 percent of all U.S. veterans met the criteria for substance use disorder between 2004 and 2006.; The rate of veterans with substance use disorder, such as alcoholism, is disproportionate among time periods served:
- Post-9/11: 7 percent of veterans
- 8 percent of veterans
- May 1975 July 1990: 7 percent of veterans
- 7 percent of veterans
- 7 percent of veterans
Veterans often encounter psychological stress or physiological ailments as a result of their time in service.; Alcoholism can arise due to many factors, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder .; According to VA, getting PTSD increases the risk that veterans will develop a drinking or drug problem.; Specifically, over 20 percent of veterans with PTSD also have a substance use disorder and nearly 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking substance use disorder treatment also have PTSD.
The percentage of veterans returning from overseas with PTSD is increasing rapidly, yet SAMHSA estimates that only about 50 percent of returning servicemembers in need of mental health treatment actually seek it.; The lack of appropriate treatment may lead to self-medicating with alcohol.
Hire Cannon Disability Law To Help You Win Benefits
The attorneys at Cannon Disability have won over $100 million dollars in SSD benefits for their clients. We have the experience you need in court to win your case. We represent clients in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. There are different rules for how drugs and alcohol contribute to your disability, depending on where you live. It is important to have an attorney who knows those rules. If you do not understand the law in your circuit, then you may not know how to proceed and win your disability case. ;For example, the 10th Circuit and the 9th Circuit have rules that are opposite of one another.
Find out more about our representatives. Dianna Cannon has been practicing disability law for over 30 years. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has worked at Cannon Disability for 19 years and has helped thousands of ;claimants win disability benefits.;Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with the experience you need to present your alcohol and drug addiction issues to the judge.
I just got a MASSIVE deposit into my account and I cannot tell you how thankful I am to you and your firm. I cannot express my appreciation for you guys. THANK YOU!
I was worried I wouldn’t find a law firm that could help me with my case. But a friend referred me to Cannon Disability and they won my disability benefits for me.
You May Like: How To Check Status Of Disability Claim
Seek Legal Assistance Today
Do you believe that you were fired because of your alcoholism? If your employer made the decision to terminate you based on your alcoholism even if your alcoholism was not impeding your ability to perform your job and did not pose a threat to yourself or others in the workplace your termination might have been unlawful. If you suspect that your termination might have been unlawful, it is absolutely necessary that you seek legal assistance with the experts at our law firm as soon as possible. The wrongful termination lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group have many years of experience handling wrongful termination claims and representing those who have been wrongfully terminated. If you would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim against your employer after you were terminated based on your alcoholism, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers immediately.
Our firm offers a convenient Zero-Fee guarantee to ensure that you never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees. Our law firm is also based on contingency; therefore, our clients will never be required to pay any legal costs until after reaching successful case outcomes. Are you ready to discuss your wrongful termination based on alcoholism with the experts at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group? If so, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today.
Alcoholism’s Effect On Disability Benefits
You can apply for disability for alcohol-related illnesses, or injuries or diseases that have nothing to do with alcohol, but to be granted disability, you would have to show that your disabling medical problems would exist even if you stopped drinking. And if you have a history of alcoholism but are not currently drinking, be prepared to prove this.
Social Security will try to determine if your alcoholism contributes to your disability determination). If so, you will not be granted disability benefits. But it doesn’t matter if your past drinking caused the condition, for example, alcoholic hepatitis of the liver brought on by drinking, just whether your current drinking is exacerbating the problem.
Consider an example. You have severe heart disease and apply for Social Security disability benefits because you can’t work as a result of your condition. If your drinking is found to exacerbate your heart disease, you won’t be granted disability benefits. However, if the SSA’s medical consultant believes that stopping drinking would not improve your condition, then your alcoholism is “immaterial,” or irrelevant to your case, and you could be approved.
Recommended Reading: How To Claim Ssi Disability On Taxes
It Cannot Be Emphasized Enough That If You Are Still Drinking And The Social Security Administration Believes That If You Stopped Drinking Your Medical Condition Would Improve To The Point Where You Would Be Able To Work You Will Not Be Considered Disabled And Social Security Will Deny Your Claim
The best possibility for approval is if you can link your medical condition to the requirements of a listed impairment; many of the diseases and disorders caused by excessive alcohol consumption are covered, but you must be able to prove that you experience the same limitations even without alcohol use.
What If I Dont Meet Any Of The Listing Requirements
If youve progressed through the application process, and youve found you dont meet the listing requirements for the SSAs List of Impairments, you may still have a chance to gain disability benefits if you posses a certain amount of functional limitations. In fact, a large amount of people that obtain benefits, secure them via this approach.
The SSA utilizes two things to gauge this: a RFC and MRFC evaluation which are conducted by a medical consultant for the Disability Determination Services , which is a state agency that works for the SSA.
An RFC evaluation assesses your residual functional capacity through various methods and determines how your body is physically able to exert itself and what circumstances limit your ability to perform your job. The RFC will also contain any non-exertional restrictions which may include tasks pertaining to your fine and gross motor skills.
The MRFC evaluation gauges your ability to engage in situations utilizing mental and social functioning skills including your social, mental, and cognitive abilities. This is broken down into four areas: understanding and memory; adaptation; social interactions; and sustained concentration and persistence.
Then, they will determine your limitation based on these areas, and use that to determine what work you are able to do. The addiction should also be listed in a properly prepared MRFC.
Read Also: How To Collect Disability In Nj
Can Using Drugs Or Alcohol Affect My Disability Claim
When you apply for disability, the SSA will make a determination of whether substance abuse is a material contributing factor to your disability. Material means the substance abuse is contributing to, or worsening, your medical condition. The Administration will also consider whether you would qualify for insurance benefits if you did not abuse alcohol or drugs. If they find that without using you still do not qualify, then the SSA will deny benefits.
For example, lets say;you have a drug addiction and suffer from seizures. The SSA determines the frequency of seizures would continue even if you stopped using drugs. In that case, you may receive;disability benefits. On the other hand, if the SSA determines your seizure condition would medically improve if you stopped using drugs, then the SSA will likely consider your drug addiction material to your disability and deny benefits.
One of the steps in approving disability insurance is the SSA reviewing your medical records. If at one point your doctor noted a suspected substance abuse problem, then the SSA may use this as reason to deny your disability claim. Proving that drug addiction or alcoholism is immaterial, or does not contribute to a disability claim, can be difficult. Have a qualified disability lawyer review your medical records and guide you through the entire disability claim process.
What About Fmlas Employment Protection
This;is;where things;get a little tricky.
Under normal FMLA regulations, an employer cannot take;punitive;action against an employee for taking FMLA leave. The employee must, of course, qualify under FMLA guidelines for this to apply.
However, the Department of Labor maintains that if an employer has an established policy regarding substance abuse, that employer may terminate an employee suffering from substance abuse . For an employer to do this, the;following requirements must apply:
- The employer must write, set down, or otherwise establish their policy.
- The policy must;apply in a non-discriminatory manner to all employees. This means no unfair exceptions or targeting of select individuals.
- The employer must communicate the policy to all employees.
- The policy must state that, under certain circumstances, an employer may discharge an employee for substance abuse.
Note:;An employee may take FMLA leave if an immediate family member is receiving qualified treatment for substance abuse.;The employer;may not punish the employee for taking FMLA leave in this case.
Also Check: How Does Long Term Disability Work
Alcoholism Is A Serious Medical Condition Which Impacts An Individuals Employment As Well As Their Personal Life
If you are unable to work because of the effects of alcoholism, whether or not you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits is a difficult question to answer. An attorney experienced in Social Security Disability can help you evaluate your case and your chances for approval.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
Primary And Secondary Diagnoses For Va Disability Benefits
Many psychiatrists and psychologists will diagnose a veteran with a mental health condition such as Post-traumatic stress disorder and a substance use or abuse disorder, including alcohol, under what is known as an Axis I.
Axes are different diagnoses levels:
- Axis I;is for clinical disorders such as mental health and substances
- Axis II;is;personality disorders
- Axis III;is medical conditions
- Axis IV;is social stressors
Under an Axis I there can be many diagnoses listed together.
If there is more than one disorder listed on the Axis I, then it is important to determine if one is secondary to another. Usually, the first disorder is primary and the second is secondary. For example, it may look like this: ;Axis I: Major depressive disorder, ETOH abuse disorder.
This would imply in most clinical areas that the alcohol abuse was secondary to the depression, in other words, the depression caused or led to the alcohol abuse. However, not all psychiatric providers abide by this form of diagnosing so it is up to the veteran to get clarification in writing.
Disability Benefits For Veterans
America values those who have served in its military. Because of this, there is a;wide range of benefits available to veterans.
These are not limited to those with disabilities. Low-income veterans, for example, can;get a monthly pension to support themselves. Members of the family of a deceased military operative may also be able to get benefits for living expenses, college tuition, or burial expenses.
Those with disabilities are looked after in a number of ways.;They may be able to;get;a monthly financial stipend. This comes tax-free.
As well as this, disabled veterans may be entitled to housing assistance. These payments can be used to adapt homes to allow for disabled access and usage. A veteran with one or more amputations might benefit from the installation of wheelchair ramps, for example.
There are also payments available for the modification of vehicles. Payment may also be;given in order to train veterans in the use of such modified vehicles.
One difficulty, however, is that veterans with disabilities do not automatically qualify for benefits. In order to receive payments, you must show that the condition you have is service-connected. This means that your disability must have arisen from your military duty, and not some unrelated factor.
We will explore this in more detail below.
What Is The Fmla
The Family and Medical Leave Act is;a federal law that offers;employees;up to 12 weeks;of unpaid leave each year in the event of a medical emergency. This;unpaid leave comes;with;no threat of job loss; its;a violation of FMLA to fire an employee because of a medical condition.
Think of FMLA as;a layer of protection that kicks;in if you:
- Cannot work due to a;serious;medical condition.
- Cannot work due to an immediate family members;serious;medical condition.
- Have a child.
- Have another qualifying exigency .
FMLA covers;all employees;who work for public agencies;.;For employees;working;in the private;sector, businesses;that employ;50 or more employees; during either the current or the previous;year qualify.
Don’t Miss: Is Social Security Disability Back Pay Taxable
Wont My Career Or Skill Set Suffer If I Get Out Of The Game
You might think that your skills will diminish while being away from work. The reality is that your career and abilities improve when you go to rehab. When you go to a treatment center, you start your treatment at detox. Your body is cleansed of the toxins from alcohol and drugs and your health and cognitive functions improve, making you sharper.
When you complete rehab, you work on your addiction issues and other mental health issues that have probably taken up much of your thought and energy. Addressing all these issues clears your mind and makes you a better employee. You find that your productivity will increase as well as your drive to work harder and longer.