Drug Addiction and Alcoholism ("DAA") Cases in Social Security Disability and SSI: Law and Practice Tips for Helping an Underserved Population
Created on October 10, 2017
The Government Accounting Office estimates that 60% of individuals with substance use disorders who are eligible to collect Social Security Disability/SSI Benefits never apply. This program, led by attorney Maryjean Ellis, provides a toolkit to help this subset of potential claimants with mental disorders, often stigmatized and misunderstood.
The program includes a brief overview of the basics of the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs, including individuals' insurance status, and the Five-Step Sequential Analysis by which all claims are processed. It also highlights the ways in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) treats DAA differently than any other Medically Determinable Impairment (MDI). Lastly, the program discusses Mental Disorders medical listings, the determination of residual functional capacity, and recent SSA rule changes.
- Recognize that individuals with DAA can be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
- Grasp the basic considerations you should know regarding Social Security Disability/SSI in order to place the DAA materials in proper context
- Appreciate SSA's historical consideration of mental disorders and substance use disorders. Develop sensitivity to the role that stigma of substance use disorders has influenced SSA's treatment of this subset of individuals with mental impairments
- Attain familiarity with the new Mental Disorder listings, to be used in Step 3
- Explore techniques for the thorough development of any and all limitations (mental and physical) for the determination of Residual Functional Capacity
- Review SSR 13-2p and how to properly apply the 5-Step Sequential Evaluation in cases involving DAA
- Guard against recently enacted procedural traps for the unwary: including the "all evidence" rule, "5-day" rule, and medical evidence rule
- Gain confidence in taking on winnable SSD/SSI cases that other firms reject
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