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This also means that an employee can’t be disciplined just because they are an alcoholic, and there must be reasonable accommodations made for this disability.
This would be considered illegal discrimination otherwise.
With drug addiction, up to this year, there was a Social Security listing for substance addiction disorders that people could meet if they had changes to their health, physically or mentally because of the abuse of any drug, but there is no longer a listing for addiction.
However, if you have certain impairments because of substance abuse including pancreatitis, liver damage, brain damage, seizures, depression or anxiety disorder, among others, ou may be able to meet Social Security criteria.
You can apply to receive disability benefits for health problems in injuries related to your alcoholism, but you have to show that these would apply even if you were to stop drinking, and you really have to prove it.
Your call is confidential, and there's no pressure to commit to treatment until you're ready.
That all may have sounded complicated, so let’s sum up. For purposes of Social Security, no, these conditions in and of themselves aren’t considered disabilities, although conditions resulting from addiction may qualify a person for disability payments if they can prove these conditions would exist with or without their substance abuse.
Regarding the ADA which relates not just to employment, but also things like housing, yes, alcoholism and addiction are considered disabilities, but the act of being drunk or intoxicated are not. We know the struggle, which is why we're uniquely qualified to help.
Another scenario people often wonder about in the discussion of alcoholism and drug addiction as disabilities is what would happen if they needed to take time off work to attend rehab.
If it seems like reasonable accommodations could be made, the employer is required to do that, but if the person asks for three months off, let’s say, this might not be considered reasonable.