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Many people have problems with alcoholism or drug addiction. These addictions can result in mental or physical disability, but it can be difficult to win benefits unless you quit drinking or using drugs. To apply for disability benefits, go to and apply online.

Over the years, SSA’s laws regarding alcohol and drug addiction have changed. In 1996, the SSA eliminated the ability to receive disability benefits based on drug addiction and/or alcoholism. Prior to that time, one could get disability benefits if alcoholism or drug addiction  prevented them from working.

Today, it is not possible to receive disability benefits if drug addiction or alcoholism is a “material factor” in your disability case. The SSA considers addiction “material” to your disability if it is the main reason you are unable to work. You cannot receive disability benefits if your physical or mental conditions are disabling  due to drug use or alcoholism. However, you can be found disabled if the damage caused by drug use or alcohol is severe. For example, if you have liver failure that is not reversible, even if you quit drinking, you are disabled.

ALCOHOLISMdisability benefits

If you are an alcoholic and you file a claim for disability benefits because you have cancer, then the SSA should find your alcohol addiction is not material to your case. It is not material to your disability case, because you are disabled by cancer, whether you drink or not. If alcoholism has nothing to do with your alleged disability, then it should not prevent the SSA from awarding benefits.

The best thing you can do for yourself, if you are an alcoholic, is to stop drinking. Not only is this a wise choice for your health, but it will allow the SSA to focus on other disabling impairments. Additionally, you should seek the help of Cannon Disability Law in your case, because having an attorney with experience can make all the difference in winning the claim.


The use of drugs is not necessarily drug addiction. Likewise, having an occasional drink does not equal alcoholism. When the SSA determines whether or not drugs or alcohol is material to your case, they look at a pattern of dysfunctional behavior.  For example, if you have used illegal drugs for 10 years and cannot quit, even after rehabilitation, then chances are good the SSA will find drug addiction material to your case. Also, the SSA will examine whether your drug use disrupts your relationships, family life, and friendships. Additionally, they will look to see if you have any physical impairments from long-term drug use.


The attorneys at Cannon Disability have won over $100 million dollars in SSD benefits for their clients. We have the experience you need in court to win your case. We represent clients in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. There are different rules for how drugs and alcohol contribute to your disability, depending on where you live. It is important to have an attorney who knows those rules. If you do not understand the law in your circuit, then you may not know how to proceed and win your disability case.  For example, the 10th Circuit and the 9th Circuit have rules that are opposite of one another.

Find out more about our representatives. Dianna Cannon has been practicing disability law for over 30 years. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has worked at Cannon Disability for 19 years and has helped thousands of  claimants win disability benefits. Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with the experience you need to present your alcohol and drug addiction issues to the judge.

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