Eligibility Criteria: Does Social Security Administration Drug Test You For Social Security Benefits?

Eligibility Criteria: Does Social Security Administration Drug Test You For Social Security Benefits?


There is no law that allows Social Security to perform a drug test on applicants who apply for social security benefits.

Consuming non-prescribed drugs while receiving social security benefits may cause legal challenges. The Social Security Administration may deny/reject your application if they know about your drug consumption. 

That said according to Public Law 104-121, individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol can continue to qualify for benefits based on other disabling conditions.

Table Of Contents:

About Social Security Administration

The Federal Government of the USA has initiated several programs to help disabled and senior workers financially.

The most commonly known programs are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks over these two programs. The SSI provides financial assistance to people based on their age and disability. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) helps workers with disabilities regardless of age.

There are many cases where workers could be mentally or physically disabled. Several diseases like advanced cancers, heart diseases, and chronic medical conditions can make a patient mentally disable.

Physical disability may include workplace accidents or injury where the worker could not return to the job for a particular time. These workers could be eligible for social security benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). But, what does it cost to get the benefits? Does the SSA do a drug screen to provide social security benefits to the applicants? Let us explore this in this blog.

SSA Eligibility Criteria for People With Disabilities

SSA is determined to provide disability insurance benefits to the workers based on their application. As a matter of fact, the SSA might deny the application if they found out about substance abuse.

SSI and SSDI are the most effective programs initiated by the federal government to help disabled and senior social security workers financially. These two programs work differently to provide financial assistance to the applicants whose application gets approved. But, they work under the Social Security Administration regulations. Either of these two programs accepts applicants who have a disability that meets the medical criteria.

SSDI benefits disabled workers if the worker has worked enough and paid the federal taxes. The applicant of the disability insurance may have to take a medical test. This test is for ensuring the applicant comes under the disability category defined by the SSA. The SSA has a set of factors to determine an applicant's disability. The applicants may also use the benefits eligibility screening tool. It helps the applicants to know which of these two programs benefits them.

The SSA may deny your application for some reasons. The first thing is the medical reasons. You can apply an appeal request to the SSA. You will have to provide the updated information on medical conditions, medical treatments, and any doctor visits. The appeal should contain if you are legitimately prescribed controlled substances by the doctors. The SSA generates a disability report review of your application. There are online resources to make the appeal request and check the status of the application. For non-medical denials, the applicants may have to contact the SSA office directly and apply for a review.

Disability in Terms of SSA

SSA determines the disability of the applicant by looking into their working status, their medical condition, etc. Based on those criteria, the SSA would decide to provide disability benefits to the applicant. Both the programs (SSI and SSDI) that are initiated for assisting the disabled have similar requirements.

Moreover, the applicants have to meet the SSA's definition of disability to receive the benefits. If the applicant meets the non-medical requirements, they can get the SSA benefits each month.

The SSA determines the disability of the applicants by the following queries.

  • Are they still working?
  • Is the condition of the applicant severe?
  • Can the applicant work like before his disabled condition?
  • Rather than the previous work, can the applicant work in any other job role?

If the applicant is still working and the average salary is more than $1300 a month, their application is more likely to get denied. If the person is not working, the applicant could receive a Disability Determination Services (DDS) application. The applicant whose medical condition is severe such as acute leukemia, pancreatic cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, can get early approval. Moreover, the applicant has to meet the basic requirements for medical SSA benefits. SSA provides no disability benefits for the partially disabled or a short-term disability. Conditions such as

  • If the medical stopped the worker from working before the previous state.
  • The medical condition caused the worker can't adjust to working after a disability.
  • The disability caused the worker to stop working for at least a year or ended up in a tragic death. 

The applicants with the above conditions can receive financial assistance from SSA as a disability claim. These are the strict policies of the SSA for disability benefits. The partially/short-term disabled can still receive the benefits like workers' compensation, savings, investments, insurance, etc.

Do I Have to Pass a Drug Test to Receive Benefits?

There are no definite rules by the SSA or Federal government to perform a drug screening on the applicants. But the SSA conducts drug tests to identify drug abuse. Consumption of controlled substances other than medical prescription might affect your disability claims directly or indirectly.

There is still confusion and uncertainty among the applicants who wish to acquire social security benefits, whether they have to take a drug test or not. The applicants who wish to get the social security benefits should follow the rules. Drug and alcohol consumption is one among them.

SSA expects the applicant to stay away from drugs to be eligible for acquiring social security benefits. SSA conducts urine/blood tests to identify the presence of illicit substances in your body. Drug and alcohol usage above the threshold might affect your social security disability benefits. You may have to seek an attorney to receive benefits if your application fails.

As stated earlier, there are no specific rules for actual drug testing for social security benefits. But there are several ways the SSA could find that the applicant has a drug consumption history. It could be a significant factor to resolve if the SSA reports on drug consumption. In some worst-case scenarios, the SSA could deny the application.

You may have to face legal issues for consuming controlled substances. You may have to submit your medical reports as a part of the SSA benefits application process. SSA usually conducts urine/blood tests for the applicants and beneficiaries. If you had a drug abuse history, SSA could report you based on drug consumption. The Social Security Administration could deny your application for receiving financial assistance.

As a part of the social security disability assessment, you have to participate in an interview with a doctor/physician. The doctor may ask you questions regarding your drug abuse history. Faking your history and falsely answering the current state does not help you get social security disability benefits. SSA has access to every medical record you provide. You are more likely to get caught if you falsify your statement during the physical assessment. The SSA could consider your drug abuse history as a symptom of your physical disability.

SSA actions are simply unpredictable for reporting an applicant for drug abuse. Rather than playing games with the administration, you can be honest with your medical reports. The state of being honest could get you an advantage in some cases. Prepare yourself by doing a home-based urine drug test to face the SSA Drug test with confidence.

Could You Lose Current Benefits Due to Substance Abuse?

Applicants who got approval from the SSA and its representatives may receive the social security disability benefits. This does not ensure permanent support for receiving SSDI benefits. There may be re-evaluations even after the approval. Being careless and consuming drugs/alcohol is not a good decision while your social security benefits are at stake. If the Social Security Administration finds out your current situation of drug consumption, you may lose the benefits.

In addition to that, if you rely on the financial assistance provided by the social security benefits for the disabled, it is not a good decision to take illegal drugs. So, be aware of your medical condition and don't let it ruin your quality of life.

The Common Misconceptions of Drug Abuse Affecting the Social Security Disability Benefits

Several applicants could get approved even if the person is or was addicted to drug/alcohol consumption. The SSA reviews every applicant's medical history for supporting social security benefits. If the person meets the definition of disability stated by the SSA, the applicant could receive the social security benefits. Let us understand through some case studies.

Case 1: If the person is disabled because of drug or alcohol addiction, the application for social security benefits could be rejected. If the active drug addiction holds the person's disability, the application may not be considered by the Social Security Administration.

Case 2:  The applicants whose disability is not caused by a drug or alcohol addiction could get approval from the SSA. But the person has to recover from the drug or alcohol addiction.

How Does the SSA Deal with Cases Involving Drug Addicted Applicants?

If the person is disabled by Drug Addiction or Alcoholism (DAA), the social security administration can deny the applicant's request for social security disability benefits. The way the social security administration deals with DAA cases has been a source of confusion among the attorneys and applicants. In 2013, the social security administration stated a rule SSR 13-p, how SSA deals with the cases involving DAA.

The social security administration carries out the DAA for the disabled with six questions.

1. What type of drug is involved in the case?

During the assessment, if the applicant's medical shows any evidence of drug abuse, the application moves to the second step. The SSDI representatives could investigate which type of drug is used. If any controlled substances like 6-MAM, cocaine, or any street drugs are involved, the case falls under DAA. Illegal use of prescribed drugs also falls under drug abuse.

2. Inclusion of DAA as a disability factor

If the person does not meet the social security administration's definition of disability, even after the inclusion of DAA as a factor, the person is not eligible for SSDI benefits. The person could apply for a review. The representatives may review the application, and the claimant may have to take a medical examination. If the person is found to be disabled, the SSDI approves the application to the next step.

3. What if drug addiction or alcoholism is the only disability?

If a person's disability is caused by Drug addiction or alcoholism (DAA), the Social security Administration (SSA) could deny the respective person's application for SSDI benefits. DAA should not be the only source of disability in this case.

4. What if the person's disability is caused by themselves (physically or mentally) using DAA as a material?

The case could turn up on you. If DAA caused you the disability and stopped you from working, you might not receive Social Security Insurance for disability. The DAA is determined as the material by the SSA representatives.

5. Does the DAA cause the person's disability?

If the person said yes, then the case could turn against the claimant. If the answer is no, the social security administration considers DAA not the material and proceeds to the next step.

6. What if the person is "not disabled" even in the absence of DAA?

It is the worst sort of case that the SSA could face. The applicant may have to submit the medical reports. The SSA representatives consider the medical reports and the interview to approve the applicant's approval. Anything that seems suspicious could end up in application denial.

Final Words

The Social security Administration states no specific rules to perform a drug test on the applicants who wish to receive the social security insurance for disability benefits. The applicants may have to submit the medical records for assessment. The applicants must take a physical evaluation if the SSA reports you in DAA.

If you have an active drug addiction, your social security benefits application could be denied. If you are in real need of social security insurance for the disabled, meeting the SSA requirements could get you the social security benefits. Disability is just a way of life. Don't let your drug addiction ruin its value.

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