Is Addiction Considered a Disability?

Addiction is a complex issue that can have a significant impact on an individual's life. While it is widely accepted that addiction is a disease, it is not always considered a disability. In order to receive disability benefits, an individual must show that their addiction is an impediment that affects their brain and neurological functions. This means that simply having an addiction is not enough to qualify for disability benefits.

The diagnosis of an addiction typically begins with the addict, a family member, or a friend noticing the symptoms of addiction. In some cases, an employee who has violated company rules due to their addiction may be able to enroll in a supervised drug rehabilitation program and then claim protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that the addiction is relevant to the disability claim, the case will be denied. It is important to note that some drugs can cause addiction over a long period of time, while others can cause addiction remarkably quickly.

Additionally, some drugs are initially prescribed by a doctor but can lead to addiction. In these cases, the individual may be protected by the ADA as long as their addiction is considered a substantially limiting impediment. In conclusion, while addiction is generally considered a disability, it alone is not enough to qualify for disability benefits. If an individual shows signs of disability but would not be disabled if they stopped using substances, they will be denied disability benefits.

However, if the SSA determines that the addiction is irrelevant to the condition for which they are applying for disability benefits, they may be able to receive disability benefits.

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