Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits Attorneys Serving Massachusetts

The disability lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates provide dedicated assistance to victims with physical or mental impairments stemming from substance abuse. We understand that long-term drug and alcohol use is an illness like any other. For over 25 years, our firm has helped disabled workers in Boston and throughout Massachusetts obtain the compensation they need through the SSDI system.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is defined in Title XVII, Chapter 123 of Massachusetts General Law (MGL). Section 35 of this chapter classifies substance abuse under “mental health” and public welfare. Although substance abuse is not itself a disability, it is known to result in a variety of medical conditions that qualify for government assistance, including SSDI, if the impairment is expected to last at least one year or result in death. In fact, MGL § 35 recognizes that alcohol and drug abuse involves the “habitual consumption” of toxins to the extent that victims lose the “power of self-control,” resulting in “substantial injury” to health or significant interference with social or economic functioning, including the ability to work.

Alcohol-Related Conditions

SSDI benefits are available for disabilities that result from chronic alcoholism. Alcohol abuse causes severe physical and behavioral changes in brain chemistry and consequently the ability to function. Medical conditions often persist after drinking ceases, leaving the victim sufficiently impaired to be eligible for benefits under several “disability listings.” These conditions can vary significantly, and may include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Renal failure
  • Mental disorder
  • Affective disorder
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Gastritis, pancreatitis
  • Organic brain disorder
  • Peripheral nerve damage

Regardless of their cause, these health problems can severely impair work function and the ability to maintain regular employment. The Social Security Administration gives the same consideration to these claims in determining whether alcoholism has caused irreversible physical or psychiatric harm. Those who are totally incapacitated by an alcohol-related disability may be entitled to benefits.

Drug-Related Disabilities

Like alcoholism, drug addiction may also lead to a long-term disability that prevents an individual from working. In both cases, drug-related conditions that meet the criteria set forth in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability listing are eligible for benefits. Medical evidence proving such claims may include:

  • Physical diagnosis
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Treatment, side-effects
  • Detailed medical history
  • Prescription medications
  • Mental health status report
  • Any previous hospitalization
  • Files of doctors, social workers
  • Emergency and discharge orders

Supporting evidence must show an advanced condition expected to last at least 12 months. However, those who have an ongoing addiction may be appointed representative payees who manage SSDI payments on their behalf. The SSA may also distinguish between conditions such as drug-induced hepatitis that can resolve with sobriety, and permanent liver failure, which is irreversible, regardless of cause.

Recovering SSDI Benefits

If you suffer from a drug or alcohol-related disability, contact the Massachusetts disability attorneys of Kantrovitz & Associates today. Our firm has recovered substantial SSDI benefits for substance abuse claimants in Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and other counties across the state. We also represent workers injured in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Call (800) 367-0871 today for a free consultation or contact us online.