Is Drug Addiction a Disability Under ADA?

is drug addiction a disability






Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 4, 2022.

Is Drug Addiction a Disability Under ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) classifies addiction as a disability, though the criteria for ADA protection depend on the substance and whether a person is still using it. The most significant distinction is that ADA protection applies to current or past alcohol misuse. People who have addictions to illicit drugs must be in recovery and no longer use illegal substances. These differences stem from alcohol's status as a legal substance, while opioids and other drugs are controlled substances.

How Disability Benefits Work

The criteria for receiving benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs are more specific.

Individuals may receive these benefits based on conditions related to their addiction, but their claim can be denied if the Commissioner determines that drug or alcohol misuse caused the disability. You may still qualify for disability benefits if you would have had your disability without your addiction and will continue to have it despite no longer using drugs or alcohol.

Substance Addiction Disorder

The ADA's classification of addiction as a disability stems from drug and alcohol's ability to impact your brain and nervous system negatively. Similarly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) catalogs substance addiction disorder as a type of disability because of the potentially severe effects these substances can have on your mind and body. Essentially, a person applying for benefits under this category may receive financial support for disabilities their addiction directly causes.

You may receive benefits for disabilities caused by substance addiction disorder if your addiction has had physical and behavioral impacts affecting your central nervous system.

Alcohol and Drug Addiction 

People with disabilities, including addiction, have rightful access to the same opportunities as others due to ADA protection. The ADA has three titles — Title I, II and III — that apply to people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. These guidelines ensure equity in employment, government and public services and public accommodation.

Find Help for Drug Addiction at Diamond House Detox 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment to recover from addiction, Diamond House Detox can help. We provide individualized care through in-patient treatment, aftercare plans and incidental medical services like medically assisted detox, injections and medication adjustments. To accommodate your unique needs, you'll have access to a diverse group of medical providers in a certified facility. Diamond House Detox also provides a healing, peaceful environment for you to recover.

 Our programs are designed to help clients identify triggers and move forward with a life of sobriety. We specialize in co-occurring disorders and treating those focusing on substance use and mental health. Reach out to Diamond House Detox today to learn more about how we can help.

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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