Skip to main content

Can you qualify for social security disability benefits due to chemical dependency?

Minneapolis, MN |

Hi there, I have been struggling with chemical dependency for the last ten years and have only been able to work intermittently. I also suffer from extreme anxiety and panic disorder. Is it possible to qualify for disability benefits for the above mentioned conditions. Feel free to leave your contact info. Thanks!

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

As Ms. Teare has clearly explained, an award of benefits is possible for you conditions, but the proof is among the most difficult and rigorous. What it will take to win will be an experienced attorney and a cooperative treating physician. If you do not know a capable lawyer, request a referral at

Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


Social Security disability benefits are appropriate when you can show that a medically determinable illness prevents you from working. Anxiety and panic disorder are medically determinable illnesses that can be the basis for such a determination. However, it is very important that you understand that drug or alcohol dependency CANNOT be the basis for a disability determination. If your chemical dependency is the reason that you cannot work, benefits will not be awarded. You must be able to show that you would still be unable to work even if you did not have probles with chemical dependency.

Any information contained on this site is not intended to constitute the practice of law in any jurisdiction and as previously stated no attorney-client relationship is formed by access to these materials. Only direct communication with counsel and acceptance of the matter by an authorized attorney within the firm will constitute creation of the attorney client relationship.


Cases involving Drug and/or alcohol use are among the most difficult to win, and my colleagues' advice is correct. You may want to talk to an attorney in your area so you can review the specific facts. There are a number of good attorneys in your area, some of whom you can find here on Avvo. You may also contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact your local legal aid office if you cannot afford an attorney.

You may also contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

You may also contact NADR (National Association of Disability Representatives) – automated Telephone Referral System at 1-800-747-6131.

Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer