Assessing Drug Or Alcohol Use
Before considering whether drug or alcohol use is material to a disability claim, Social Security must have medical evidence that the person has a substance dependency, addiction, “compulsory dependency,” abuse or use disorder. For Social Security purposes, these terms all mean the same thing.
The use of alcohol or drugs is not necessarily drug addiction. When Social Security makes a drug addiction or alcohol determination, the important factor is whether a person has a pattern of repeatedly using drugs in a dysfunctional wayin other words, whether the drug use is causing a disruption of work, family life, social activities, and/or physical damage. That is a medical judgment that the Social Security Administration makes. Depending on the quality of evidence available from an applicant’s medical records, Social Security may order an additional mental examination to determine whether there is a drug or alcohol addiction.
The SSA does not have to establish a drug or alcohol addiction by any specific criteria, such as those in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Whether a person’s drug use is “addictive,” a free choice, legal, illegal, or involves a prescribed drug, is not relevant to Social Security’s determination of whether drug addiction or alcoholism is present.
Why Isnt Addiction A Disability
When reading the definition of a disability, it almost seems like addiction fits the bill. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol causes impairment, activity limitation, and participation restrictions, right? Well, in many ways, yes, but in general, no. Heres why:
Addiction is not a disability, it is a disease. The continued abuse of drugs causes structural changes in the brain that make it more difficult for a person to stop using. The more drugs are abused, the more severe these changes become. While recovering from drug addiction can be extremely challenging, it is possible. Addiction is a treatable disease.
Can I Work With Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a mental disorder characterized by a physical, mental, or emotional dependence on a substance. The substance may be legal , illegal or a legal substance used in an illegal manner . Generally speaking, when we refer to drug addiction as a disabling condition, we are referring to alcoholism or dependence upon illegal drugs.
Anyone who is dealing with a drug addiction knows that it can be debilitating. Often, drug addiction starts with recreational use of drugs, but turns into a full blown dependence. The drug addict may or may not desire to give up the habit, and may experience severe physical and emotional symptoms if he or she goes without the substance her body has grown accustomed to receiving.
It goes without saying that the addicted individual can experience difficulty in maintaining employment. In addition to the fact that many employers regularly test employees for illegal substances, a drug addicts habit may cause physical and emotional/mental problems that make it difficult or impossible to stay on the job.
The rule of thumb used when determining Social Security Disability is that you will not be considered disabled if the adjudicator decides that your condition would not qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits if you were to stop using drugs right now. You may still be qualified for a condition that was caused by drug use, but you may not be considered disabled if stopping your drug use would cause your condition to improve.
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Drug Addiction Recognised As A ‘disability’ Under Federal Law
The Federal Court has confirmed that dependence on opioids is a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act1992 . As a result, it is unlawful under the DDA for an employer to treat an employee or prospective employee less favourably than the employer would treat someone else because the person is addicted to opioids, has previously been addicted to opioids, or because the employer has imputed opioid addiction to the person. An employer may also breach the DDA by failing to make reasonable adjustments for an employee with an opioid addiction or by requiring an employee to comply with an unreasonable requirement or condition that he or she cannot comply with due to an opioid addiction.
On the basis of this case, it is also arguable that other types of addiction constitute a disability under the DDA.
If You Take Medication Or Have Treatment For Your Disability
The legal test is that you should look at the impact of your impairment without any medication or treatment. Treatment includes things like counselling as well as medication. For example if you have arthritis and use a walking stick, think about how hard it would be for you to walk without it.
If you have a sight impairment which can be cured by wearing glasses or contact lenses, youll need to think about how your day-to-day activities are affected when youre wearing them.
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Accommodating Employees With Drug Addiction
People with drug addiction may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people who are addicted to drugs will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.
Addiction: Is It A Disability
Is addiction a disability under Victorian anti-discrimination law?
With a strong focus on drug, alcohol and gambling addiction in the press, a number of our clients have asked us, ‘Is addiction a disability under Victorian anti-discrimination law?’
While there are no definitive legal authorities confirming addiction is a disability under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 , case law from other jurisdictions supports this view.
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The Disease Model Of Addiction History And Explanation:
The traditional medical model of disease only requires the presence of an abnormal condition that induces distress, discomfort, or dysfunction to the affected person. However, the contemporary medical model states that addiction occurs due to changes in the mesolimbic pathway in the brain. It also addresses the fact that such disease may be influenced by other sociological, psychological or biological factors, even though the mechanisms of these factors are not completely understood. Using the contemporary medical model, addiction was categorized as a disease.
Controversy about the Disease Model of Addiction in Ontario:
There is much controversy surrounding the idea that drug addiction is a disease. The criticisms are largely by those who subscribe to the life-process model of addiction. The life-process model of addiction is the opinion that addiction is a source of gratification and habitual response and not a disease.
They believe that addiction shouldnt be called a disease or disorder since the biological mechanisms that point to addictive behaviour have not been confirmed. They are of the opinion that an addict can defeat addiction through personal willpower and by repairing relationships.
Va Disability Eligibility And Requirements
A veteran may be considered eligible for drug addiction disability benefits or alcohol disability benefits if they have a condition that affects their mental or physical health. They must also meet both of the following requirements:
- They have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
- They have been given a disability rating for their service-connected condition.
At least one of the following must also be true:
- They are able to connect their illness or injury to their time serving in the military.
- They had an illness or injury before serving in the military that was made worse due to active duty.
- They have a disability that was found to be related to their time in service but didnt appear until service was ceased.
Qualified dependents of veterans may also be eligible for disability benefits.7
Are you looking for an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center that is designed for veterans? Contact American Addiction Centers today at and discover whether your benefits will cover the full or partial extent of addiction treatment.
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Alcoholism And Drug Addiction As A Disability
May 24th, 2020
The current opioid epidemic afflicting our nation brings up complex issues regarding drug or alcohol addiction, employee rights, and what constitutes a disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Minnesota Human Rights Act generally protect employees with alcoholism or drug addiction if the employees can perform the essential functions of their jobs, even if they need a reasonable accommodation to do so. But if employees are unable to perform their job even with a reasonable accommodation, or if the employees are a threat to safety, then they are not protected under the ADA or MHRA. To qualify as disabled, an employees addiction must impair major life activities, such as walking, sleeping, or thinking. In other words, depending on the court you are in, alcoholism and drug addiction is not automatically considered a disability, but will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
So, how do you determine whether you are able to perform the essential functions of your job with or without a reasonable accommodation? To answer this question, it is helpful to consider some examples. First, a reasonable accommodation may mean giving an employee time off from work to seek treatment or allowing the employee to work a modified schedule to attend support group meetings. But being protected under the ADA and MHRA does not mean you cannot be disciplined or terminated for conduct related to your disability.
Drug Addiction And Your Ability To Perform Sedentary Work
Most sedentary jobs require sitting for long periods of time, paying attention to detailed work, and dealing with other people. Many of them also require specialized training or education. While one person with a drug addictions ability to do these things will differ considerably from anothers, it wont really matter if the reason you cant perform available sedentary work is determined to be because of your drug addiction. If, at any time, it is found that you could perform available work if it werent for your drug addiction, your Social Security Disability claim will be denied.
People with a drug addiction face a difficult battle when filing a Social Security disability claim, even if your disability is caused by something else. Howeverm, with that said, it is not impossible to have a claim accepted. Often, those who are addicted to drugs have other mental conditions which do qualify them for Social Security Disability benefits, and as long as it cant be proven that your mental conditions will improve if you stop using drugs, you may be approved. In any case, you should consider hiring an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who is experienced in winning claims despite the issue of drug abuse.
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Everything About Alcoholism Ada
When you smell a barbecue and your mouth begins to water, your benefit system has kicked in. Addictive compounds flood parts of your brain with dopamine, a chemical that gives us a sensation of bliss. With time, your brain will rewire itself to demand this sensation, which it now associates with the compound.
This process can alter the way you believe, keep in mind, react to tension, and make choices. It also makes dependency extremely hard to overcome. Dependency is plainly a disease, not a moral weak point. That’s why the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition , the gold standard of mental health diagnostic tools, consists of “compound use disorder” as a treatable medical condition.
Va Disability And Drug Use: Is Substance Abuse A Va Disability
Disability benefits may cover physical conditions as well as mental health conditions.1 Those benefits may also apply to substance use disorder , which is sometimes simply called addiction. SUD is a disease that leads to problems with substances such as drugs and alcohol. If SUD is left untreated, it can negatively affect other aspects of life, which is why the VA sometimes considers it to be a service-connected disability.2
However, rehab for veterans can help them recover from substance abuse issues and other co-occurring mental health conditions, such as PTSD. This page will cover VA disability benefits, drug use, and explain how VA medical centers offer multiple types of therapy and medications that are effective for treating SUD.3
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Should Addiction Be Considered A Disability
In September, we recognize Addiction awareness month. Similar to being blind or deaf, addiction is often thought of as a disability. The question of if addiction should be considered a disease is still controversial even decades later when it was designated as such. Some experts argue that addiction should instead be classified as a dysfunction or a disorder. A new approach is needed to better understand addiction, with many believing that addiction should be considered a disability that can be provided reasonable accommodations in society.
If we consider a well-established disability such as blindness, it is known that being blind is atypical, relative to a person who is not blind. Society has been structured for those who are typical but recognizes the disadvantages that come with blindness. Accommodations are created to help alleviate these disadvantages, such as including braille on signs.
People who suffer from addiction can be viewed as atypical when compared to those who are not prone to addiction or are addicted to a substance. Research is beginning to show us how the psychology and neuroscience of those with addiction differ from others considered to be typical. Addicts are simply different.
Moving from the disease model to a disability model helps society move past seeing addicted persons as morally defective or as criminals. It helps society view addicted persons as citizens who need certain accommodations to live out their lives and achieve their goals.
Finding A Way Out Of Disability And Addiction Today
Individuals with SUDs may struggle with underlying disorders that they are unaware of. They may have several questions about treatments, medications, and disability services. Contact a treatment provider today to inquire about various treatment plans. Examine your options for faith-based treatments, holistic-based treatments, and peer groups today. Explore the many ways rehab can help you restore your life to one of health and happiness.
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
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The Best Strategy To Use For Ada Addiction
According to the DSM-5, a compound use disorder diagnosis includes: Taking a compound in bigger amounts or for a longer duration than intendedUnsuccessful efforts to cut back or stop using the substanceSignificant time dedicated to getting, utilizing, and recuperating from the substanceCravings and urges to useFailing to satisfy your significant work, school, and home obligationsContinuing to use even when your substance usage harms your relationshipsGiving up your pastimes, work activities, and social engagements due to the fact that of substance useUsing in situations that put you at danger of physical harmUsing even when you realize it is hurting your psychological and physical healthIncreased tolerance to the substance’s effectsWithdrawal symptomsIf you have two or 3 of these criteria, you have a mild substance usage disorder.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to develop a substance usage disorder. Lots of people take opioid or narcotic medications while recuperating from surgical treatments or dealing with persistent pain. Our bodies can rapidly become based on these medications, leading to addiction. Approximately 10% of all adults receive a compound usage disorder diagnosis, although the vast majority never get treatment.
Check If Your Impairments Long Term
A long-term effect means something that has affected you or is likely to affect you for at least a year. For example, if you had an operation that will make walking difficult for at least a year, thats long term.
Your impairment will still be considered to be long term if the effects are likely to come and go. These are known as fluctuating or recurring effects.
For example, youve had periods of depression for a few months at a time but then months in between where it doesnt affect you. Each episode of depression lasts less than 12 months, but it can meet the definition of long term if:
- it has a substantial adverse effect when it happens, and
- it could well happen again
Your impairment will also still be considered to be long term if its likely to affect you for the rest of your life even if thats going to be less than a year.
The definition of what is long term is in Schedule 1 of the Equality Act 2010.
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Addiction Treatment And Insurance
Experts recognize addiction as a disease. Since this is the case, insurance companies must provide coverage for those who suffer from substance use disorders. Individuals who struggle with the effects of drug or alcohol use disorders can seek help from professional treatment centers with help from insurance companies.
Those who suffer from co-occurring disorders can also find the hope and help they need through treatment. Many insurance plans cover treatment for mental health treatment in addition to substance use disorders.
An Overview Of Drug And Alcohol Use Disorders
First, it is critical to understand what it means to have an alcohol or drug use disorder. When a person suffers from a substance use disorder, it means he or she has a substance dependency. This dependence on alcohol or drugs prevents the individual from being able to function normally. Instead, those who suffer from addiction rely on the influence of these substances.
Substance use disorders can affect people of any age group. It occurs and develops as a result of various unique causes and circumstances. With that being said, its important to recognize the fact that addiction requires customized care. Professionals who offer treatment for alcoholism and drug misuse must have an in-depth understanding of these disorders. It also helps for family members, friends, and employers of struggling individuals to have a working knowledge of addiction.
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