Can I Still Get Benefits with Alcohol-Linked Liver Disease?

According to the official Social Security Website, studies show that just more than 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67. Becoming disabled can bring feelings of despair and hopelessness, but Social Security benefits provide a safety net for you and your family.

To learn more about the basic qualifications for Social Security benefits and whether you fit the criteria, check out this blog post.

Many complex factors go into whether you qualify for Social Security benefits. Here’s a look into how alcohol-related liver diseases affect your standing for benefits.

Liver Disease and Disability

Liver Disease is classified as a digestive system disorder, and is assessed for benefits based on how your symptoms limit you, what kind of treatment you are getting, and how the treatment affects you.

In making your case, you must have proof that your liver disease is chronic. You must also prove through an independent liver biopsy that you have one of three symptoms:

  • Inflammation that lasts for at least three months. This is demonstrated by Prothrombin time, or a blood test that measures how long it takes blood to clot. The test should reveal enzymes consistent with liver dysfunction.
  • Ascities, or accumulation of protein-containing fluid within the abdomen, lasting for at least three months.
  • Serum bilirubin, or a test that measures bilirubin (pigment found in bile), with results of 2.5 mg per deciliter or greater, lasting for at least 3 months.

What if My Disability is Linked to Alcoholism?Alcoholism and SS Disabiltiy

An alcohol or drug addiction may affect your ability to receive Social Security benefits. If medical evidence of an addiction is found, you may not be considered disabled.

But don’t despair. Even with an addiction, according to the Code of Federal Regulations, you may still be eligible for benefits because of your age or blindness.

The main factor that will determine your eligibility for benefits is whether you would still be disabled if you stopped using drugs or alcohol.

If you would still be severely limited even if you stopped using drugs or alcohol, you could receive benefits. If you would be able to function in a work environment as usual if you stopped using drugs or alcohol, you are not likely to receive benefits.

Alcoholism is when a person depends on alcohol to function. If this describes you, reach out for help and learn more about treatment programs, like those listed at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Take steps to improve your life and improve your chances of receiving benefits.

Tips for Filing for Disability

Your medical records play a big part in whether or not you will be approved for disability. These medical records can include statements and treatment notes from your doctor, summaries from hospitals, results from tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, blood-work, and physical therapy reports.

You may also be examined by a physician working for Social Security Administration.

Make sure you keep a record of all of these files and present them when making your case.

Learn More

Take this quiz to see how much you really know about your Social Security Disability Benefits, or read here to see what the SSA really wants to know from your disability application.


Image courtesy of David Goehring via Flickr.