Let's say that you drink alcohol, in fact you're abusing alcohol, and you have a disabling liver condition. The test becomes this: You stopped drinking which then restored your ability to work. Therefore, your alcoholism is a material factor or cause of your disability. However, if you stopped drinking and it did not restore your ability to work, then the Administration will find that drinking is not a material cause of your inability to work.
There are 3 situations where the Administration find that drug addiction and alcoholism are a material factor in determining your eligibility for disability:
Factor 1: Your only condition causing your impairment to be severe is that you're an alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
Factor 2: Your other impairments, mental or physical, by themselves, are not severe and would not render you disabled.
Factor 3: Your other impairments, although severe, are not disabling by themselves.
For example your back pain, gout, or other medical listing may be severe, and you may be medicating yourself through drinking or drug addiction, these conditions may still not prevent you from working again.
Your alcoholism or drug addiction becomes a non-issue or immaterial in the situation where even if you did quit, and your condition will not improve, the Administration will not consider drug addiction or alcoholism in your eligibility for benefits.
This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.