Disability And Addiction

is addiction a disability

The half-way house must admit anyone who is receiving medication to treat substance use disorder, unless it completely changes their program (a fundamental alteration). For example, the half-way house doesn’t dispense any medications, so requiring the staff to dispense Suboxone would fundamentally change their operations. However, the half-way https://sober-house.org/ house could allow Jason to leave each day only to receive Suboxone at a treatment center. It’s important to note that people in recovery may have other disabilities requiring accommodations, such as providing a sign language interpreter for a Deaf participant or providing materials in an alternative format for someone with a vision disability.

However, if you can demonstrate that you are trying to quit or are in the recovery phase, SSA may not appoint a payee. It’s the latter issue that’s the most important, as more than half of all SSD benefits are denied. DarrasLaw’s individual disability attorneys and nationally preeminent group ERISA lawyers can fight for your rightful benefits. You’re physically motivated to continue engaging in rewarding behaviors even if the reward is only temporary and ultimately destructive. The surges you get in your brain’s reward center when you take a drug encourages further abuse and deeper addiction. Illegal substances, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, do not have legal uses.

SSDI and SSI Disability Benefits for Drug Addiction

For example, if you are addicted to alcohol and file for disability benefits as a result of having emphysema, the SSA will probably find that your alcohol addiction is immaterial to the condition of emphysema. That being the case, the alcohol addiction will not, in and of itself, prevent approval of your disability application. The application must, however, meet the requirements for emphysema under the SSA guidelines for disability.

[7] Under

the ADA, illegal use is broader than just the use of drugs that are

commonly viewed as illegal. It includes the use of illegal drugs that are

controlled substances (e.g.,

cocaine) as well as the illegal use of prescription drugs that are

controlled substances (e.g., Valium). 12 (10th Cir. 1998), the court stated there is

no doubt that, under the ADA, illegal drug use includes the illegal misuse

of pain-killing drugs which are controlled by prescription as well as

illegal street drugs like cocaine. Yes, she is protected under the ADA because she has a history of an impairment (addiction to heroin) and hasn’t used illegal drugs for two years. The CPS worker violated the ADA when he refused to work with Lilian because of her history of drug use. Methadone is a legally prescribed medication, just like insulin is prescribed for diabetes.

Is Drug Addiction a Disability?

It’s a result of both a lack of knowledge about ADA protections generally, and the specific stigma that people who’ve used drugs encounter, experts say. Although most Drug Addiction starts with casual or social use of a drug, some people become addicted to a drug originally prescribed by a physician. A common misconception is that Drug Addiction is solely due to use of illegal substances, but that is not always the case. Further, some drugs cause addiction over a long period of time, while others cause addiction remarkably quickly. In EEOC

v. Exxon


the courts were forced to analyze the ADA’s direct threat [95]

defense and how it interacts with the business necessity [96]

defense. With respect to substance abuse and the ADA, courts have generally

recognized an employer’s prerogative to formulate and rely upon safety-based

job qualifications, even though they may screen out individuals with


Similarly, it may be appropriate for your employer to prohibit employees from being intoxicated at work. If you are regularly hungover and show up for work late or cannot complete assignments on time, you may be disciplined for poor performance. Put simply, even though these addictions are, under certain circumstances, considered disabilities, the law never gives employees a right to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during work hours. Drug addiction can produce some severe mental and physical health complications that can last far longer than the active addiction does. However, if you are actively addicted to drugs, there is a large chance that you will not be approved for disability unless you already have a circumstance in which you are disabled. To show that a requested accommodation may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.

Are Drug Addicts Eligible for Medicaid / Medicare Benefits?

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. The ADA is therefore a potentially transformative instrument for protecting the rights of people with addictions—but there are also plenty of obstacles.

DOL Releases Guidance on Mental Health Accommodations for … – Lexology

DOL Releases Guidance on Mental Health Accommodations for ….

Posted: Mon, 12 Jun 2023 16:17:20 GMT [source]

Knowing the criteria of what qualifies as a disability, you’ve likely noticed the parallels and how drug addiction can result in the same loss of independence and self-sufficiency as a loss of a limb or a hereditary genetic condition. The Social Security medical consultant, administrative law judge, or other adjudicator (see our article on who can make DAA decisions) should understand the nature of the drugs abused when deciding the reversibility of the effects or drugs or alcohol. Even a treating doctor’s opinion that a drug’s effect is reversible is not acceptable unless it is both true and applicable to a given case. This means that an employer cannot fire or refuse to hire someone because they disclose a past addiction. However, a person who is currently abusing drugs like cocaine would not be protected under the ADA. In other words, people are discriminated against for using medications that doctors have prescribed to help them stop using drugs in the first place.

Alcoholism or Addiction as a Material Factor

One is the so-called “current use exception.” Under the ADA, people who use drugs (other than alcohol) count as disabled only if they are not currently using drugs. Winning a claim for disability benefits based on a mental impairment when you also have a history of substance abuse can be challenging. Make sure that you’re upfront with your doctor about your struggles with addiction. The SSA is aware that recovery isn’t easy, and won’t penalize you for any relapses so long as you’re honest with your medical providers. The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals.

is addiction a disability

Prior to that date, individuals could get SSI or SSDI disability benefits if their alcoholism or drug addiction was so severe that it prevented them from working. The SSA recognizes a disability category called substance addiction disorder, which acknowledges the fact that chronic alcohol abuse can result in severe disability. With this category, a person can receive benefits for an underlying disability caused by alcohol addiction, but not for the addiction itself. (i) If we determine that your remaining limitations would not be disabling, we will find that your drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability. Yes, the recovery home discriminated against Sofia under the ADA because she wasn’t allowed to take her medication while participating in the treatment program.

To qualify as disabled, an employee’s 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 eco sober house complaints is not automatically considered a disability, but will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines alcoholism and drug addiction as disabilities.

  • Many people with addictions are ashamed and do not tell their employer about their potential disability and need for accommodation.
  • In one, a federal court in 2018 found that a Massachusetts jail’s refusal to allow a potential inmate to stay on methadone violated the ADA.
  • Remember—it’s not impossible to claim individual or group long-term disability benefits due to substance abuse or addiction but it is hard.
  • Throughout his recovery, James has used his personal story to help make a difference in the lives of others.

If a person has paid into Social Security through their taxes, disability benefits can be paid to the individual and some of their family members. The Supplemental Security Income program pays financial benefits based on the determination of need. When someone applies for these programs, they must provide medical and personal information that officials use to determine eligibility. This leaves many people wondering whether alcoholism and drug addiction are disabilities. The following overview covers current disability laws, how addictions are categorized and what benefits are available for people struggling with drugs or alcohol. Such cases expose how many institutions — including health care facilities — don’t realize that withholding services from someone based on their addiction history or ongoing treatment amounts to illegal discrimination.

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