My number one rule when applying for disability benefits is to stop using cocaine. Aside from the health risks, the use of any drug will have a negative impact on your credibility throughout the claim process. Our society generally views the consumption of drugs and alcohol in a negative light. An unfortunate viewpoint that many people hold is that if you are applying for disability benefits and using drugs, you are looking for a way to support your habit without actually working. To combat this bias….stop all use during your claim process!
The other reason you should stop using cocaine during your application process is so we have a period of sobriety. We need a significant time frame where you are sober and continuing to suffer symptoms and limitations from your conditions. What is even better for your claim is if you stop using cocaine and your conditions continue to worsen. This way, we can argue that your cocaine use is not material to your disability claim. Meaning, your use of drugs was not causing your disability.
The final reason you should stop using cocaine during your application process is that your use calls into question how you were able to purchase the drug. Are you working but receiving cash payments and not reporting them to social security? Not reporting cash earnings to social security is a big issue that all social security employees are on high alert for. If SSA suspects you have another source of income they will use that as an easy way to deny your claim.
While using cocaine does not preclude you from obtaining disability benefits, it certainly will cause significant hurdles throughout the application process which may draw out your claim. I suggest you stop using cocaine prior to your application. And if you can’t, seek an experienced disability attorney’s opinion regarding your situation. If you are using, you will more than likely need an attorney to help you argue your case.