The Social Security Disability Insurance program can not legally deny a claim based solely on the claimant having a substance abuse problem. However, there are circumstances where substance abuse could contribute to a denial.
How does substance abuse impact SSDI eligibility?
Impact of substance abuse on SSDI eligibility
The Social Security Administration may reject a claim for benefits if there is evidence that substance abuse caused or contributed to the functional or physical limitations that caused your disability. There must be evidence of a substance use disorder in your medical record for the SSA to consider whether it caused or contributed to your disability.
How the SSA determines eligibility
To reject a claim based on substance abuse, the SSA must determine that drugs or alcohol caused or worsened your mental or physical impairment. They must also find that if you stopped using drugs or alcohol your condition would improve enough for you to return to work.
If the SSA does not find that either of the above conditions applies to your case, your substance abuse will not be material to your claim. The SSA may reduce your benefits based on the extent that your substance abuse contributes to your impairment.
If both conditions do apply, then the SSA will likely reject your claim. However, if the SSA determines that substance use caused or contributed to your disability but stopping will not improve your condition, you may still be able to receive disability benefits.
If the SSA does approve your claim, they may require you to participate in a treatment program to receive benefits.