Law Office of Mark A. Schneider

Substance Abuse and Social Security Appeals

A person recovering from Substance Abuse, Drug Addiction, or Alcoholism or an individual with ongoing Substance Abuse, Drug Abuse, or Alcoholism may be able to receive SSI & SSDI Disability benefits. You must be in mental health or addiction treatment to be eligible. If addiction causes mental health symptoms such as depression or anxiety you will not be eligible. If your psychiatrist can state that mental disorders exist, even with out substances, you can be eligible. Social Security will look at your history of mental health problems, before and after you were using drugs or alcohol.

Social Security looks at the limitations caused by mental illness, not just a diagnosis. They look at a person’s ability to:

  •  Perform activities of daily living
    • cooking
    • cleaning
    • shopping
    • driving
  • Social functioning
  • Ability to get along with co-workers, the public, and supervisors
  • Ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace
  • Repeated episodes of decompensation
  • Relapse under working conditions

Even if you do not meet the SSA disability requirements for mental impairments specifically, you may still be able to get benefits.  You can seek benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. The amount you will receive is determined by your ability to work, considering your mental and physical disabilities.

The SSA requires that you prove that you are unable to work, or at least work in the same capacity you were before. To prove your disability, you will need to gather evidence, including signed forms from your doctor explaining your condition.

Qualifying For Disability

Applying and Preparing For Appeal

You can apply for disability in the following ways:

Probably the least desirable option is to walk into the Social Security office without an appointment. You may have to wait a long time before you can talk to someone about your application. Calling to apply allows you to speak with a representative.  They can help you with the application, and applying online is often the fastest option.

Be prepared for denial of your initial application. The SSA tends to deny claims the first time around. You will need to appeal if you want to get your benefits. The appeal process can take a significant amount of time, over a year in some cases.  Prepare yourself for a wait. By demonstrating your disability, there is a chance you will get your benefits, but it will probably not happen quickly.

To improve your chances of getting your benefits and eliminate much of the uncertainty of the application and appeals process, you should work with an attorney experienced in SSI and SSDI. A skilled attorney can help ensure that everything is done right the first time.  Correctly collecting information minimizes the chances of rejection. Your lawyer will be useful in the appeals process.  You may need to speak to a judge and present your case before SSA accepts your claim.

The Importance of Working with an Experienced SSI / SSDI Attorney


Words From Clients

  • “Kind, compassionate & knowledgeable assistance in navigating challenging events in life!”

    Amanda Palmer
    Personal Injury Client
  • Unreal how fast it was for me and it’s all thanks to Mark Schneider. A big thanks to you Mark. I’m very very pleased.

    R. Drew Palcsik Attorney at Law PLLC
    Tim M.
    Supplemental Security Income Client
  • Excellent representation’ would be an understatement! I was very pleased and would highly recommend this firm to anyone! Very professional yet very open minded towards clients needs.

    David B.
    Social Security Disability Client

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    This website contains attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this website is for general information and awareness about some of the legal issues, please do not take this as an opinion about your particular case or legal advice.