Being an alcoholic doesn’t qualify you for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in and of itself. However, if you suffer from an associated medical condition—liver disease, for example—that affects your ability to work, then you could qualify. This determination depends on certain factors.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will want to find out how alcohol abuse contributes to the liver disease and resulting impairment.Specifically, they want to know:
- Is alcohol abuse the cause of your condition?
- Is alcohol abuse making your condition worse?
- If you stopped consuming alcohol, would the condition no longer be disabling?
If the answers to above are “yes,” you will probably not receive SSD.
Nonetheless, this determination is not as straightforward as it might seem. Let’s take an example:
Let’s say you have been an alcoholic for many years, which has resulted in severe liver damage. You still drink regularly. At first glance, you might think this scenario would make you ineligible for SSD. However, it all comes down to the assessment a Disability Determination Services (DDS) medical doctor makes on your case.
If such a doctor examines you and determines that the liver damage is so progressed, that stopping alcohol consumption would not affect the medical condition, then you could be eligible for SSD. The rationale here is that the alcohol consumption is not contributing to your current impairment (even if it caused your condition in the first place).
There are many case-specific factors that determine whether alcohol-related impairments can be eligible for SSD. An attorney experienced in SSD can help walk you through the details of your case.