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If am ill because of an addiction, can I still get benefits?

Many people quietly struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction. Contrary to a popular conception, many if not most of these struggling souls actually go to work almost every day and live productive, seemingly normal lives.

However, their habit can catch up with them if, because of excessive drug use or drinking, they develop a debilitating medical condition that forces them out of the workforce. Although they would probably be the first to admit that their plight is to some degree one of their own making, they still will need a means of supporting themselves in their disability. Some may also have families that count on them for support.

The good news is that SSD claims based on an illness related to one's addiction are still valid claims, even though one cannot claim to be disabled based on a drug or alcohol addiction standing alone. If a person with an illness qualifies for disability benefits based on the Social Security Administration's criteria, then he or she gets benefits, as the Social Security program is a no fault system.

However, the Social Security Administration does have the power to require someone whose drug or alcohol problems contributed to his or her disability to go to treatment and make some meaningful progress toward recovery. While this treatment is usually offered free of charge, not going to treatment or ignoring treatment recommendations can mean that a person will not draw benefits.

The good news is that a person's alcoholism or drug addiction does not mean that they cannot get benefits for related medical conditions. Still, it is advisable for such people in Boone County to consider talking with an experienced disability attorney before applying for benefits.

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