Because every claim is different, there is no time frame that can be set to determine how long the SSD benefit process will take. There are numerous variables that need to be considered when figuring out how long an applicant should expect to wait, which includes how many times an applicant has been through the process already. There is no guarantee that you will be approved right away and each level of the SSD benefits process takes a considerable amount of time.

Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits

Average time span for each level of the process

Generally, it takes 30-90 days to receive a decision from Social Security on your first claim. If you do receive a denial after your initial claim, you can appeal and expect to hear back within 60 days. If you are denied again, you can appeal and fill out a request to have a hearing with a disability judge. Unfortunately, because this is a tedious process, it is the most overwhelming and longest of the levels. Because hearing’s happen so often when it comes to filing for SSD benefits, applicants wait at least a year before having a hearing. Though it is a time costing process, it is the level that is most likely to receive an approval.

How to get fast answers with disability claims

Though some of the levels in the process take time, some disability applicants don’t have to go through this entire process their first time. There is a process called TERI, which designates certain cases such as a terminal illness and will approve the claim in 30 days or less. There are other programs that make for a quick turnaround time — quick disability determination and Compassionate Allowances. The quick disability determination program will analyze certain parts of the claim if it is likely that it will be approved. The compassionate allowances program helps SS determine claims that involve conditions that meet the qualifications in the Blue Book impairment listings.

Generally speaking, almost, if not all, disability applications that are approved are processed in 90 days or less. Even if an applicant is denied initially, but the reconsideration is approved, the applicant is likely to be approved in 6 months or less. It is important to understand that roughly 65 percent of the initial claims are denied at first.


Like any Social Security Administration — SSA — disability, your chronic alcoholism needs to meet requirements that are in the listed section in the Blue Book. If your impairments meet a medical condition that is listed, then you may be eligible for SSD benefits. If you did quit drinking alcohol, but meet the requirements, you will still be considered disabled.

Disability Benefits for Chronic Alcoholism

Unfortunately, your diagnosis of chronic alcoholism will not prove that you are disabled according to SSA. Though, there are many people with chronic alcoholism that end up having physical and mental changes due to alcohol that have limited their ability to function at work and perform basic daily skills. If you are still drinking, the SSA will advise that you stop drinking because that will help improve your condition to where you will no longer be disabled and no longer need to be on disability benefits.

What Qualifies As a Substance Addiction Disorder

  • Neurocognitive Disorders: This disorder is a decrease in mental function that is caused by damage to your brain because of a disease or injury. Chronic alcoholism frequently causes neurocognitive disorder. Some symptoms of this disorder as decrease in judgment, memory loss, poor social judgment, and a lack of coordination, just to name a few. Your deficits should limit you in work and performing daily duties that you were once able to perform.
  • Depressive Syndrome: Depressive is oftentimes caused by alcoholism and can be evaluated in mood disorders in the Blue Book.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Alcoholism can lead to long-term anxiety, whether people believe that or not. There is more information on anxiety disorders, but it is the most common emotional disorder.
  • Peripheral Neuropathies: This happens when there is damage that has been done to your peripheral nervous. This system is involved with transmitting information from your brain to your body. Alcoholism can cause what we call peripheral neuropathy.
  • Liver Damage: Most of the liver disease that is in the U.S. is caused because of alcoholism. Liver damage that is done because of an excessive amount of alcohol consumption is a common listing for disability.
  • Gastritis: A common cause for gastritis is extreme alcohol abuse. The excessive amount of alcohol inflames the lining in your stomach and that is how this disease is caused. This will be listed under the digestive system in the Blue Book.
  • Pancreatitis: The pancreas is a main target when consuming a lot of alcohol. This will cause the pancreas to inflame.
  • Seizures: Sometimes referred to as “rum fits,” heavy drinking can lead to seizures, whether a person is epileptic or not.

It is critical to stop drinking to help improve your disorder. This will give you a faster turnaround time so you can not be considered disabled anymore. At times, SSA will require that you quit drinking for at least 30 days so they can see if your symptoms have improved at all. If applying for disability benefits for chronic alcohol, please consult with a lawyer.


Most American’s spend their entire adult lives working hard at our jobs. Our reward at the end of our long careers is the right to collect Social Security retirement benefits. These benefits are meant to provide income for people after they stop working so they have a means to pay their bills. You can be eligible for retirement benefits if you worked enough quarters at a job that requires you to pay into the Social Security system. Your monthly retirement benefit amount is determined by the amount you have paid into the system throughout your working years. Here is some important information about how your Social Security benefit is determined.

How Much Will Social Security Pay Me

Qualifying for Benefits

You must have earned at least 40 credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.
You earn one credit for every $1,300 you earn. But, you can only earn a maximum of four credits per year.

Factors that Affect Your Benefit Amount

The primary factor for determining your retirement benefit is the amount of money you earned while you were working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at the average amount of money you made in your 35 highest-earning work years before you turned 62. The SSA also looks at the age at which you start taking your benefits and any other sources of income you may have, such as a pension, when determining your benefit amount.

Factors That do not Affect Your Benefit Amount

Your benefit amount is not necessarily determined by the number of years you have worked and paid into the Social Security system. The SSA only looks at the 35 years in which you made the most money. Similarly, adjusting the amount of hours you work or accepting less pay as you near the end of your career will not negatively affect your benefit amount.

Calculating Your Social Security Amount

You can estimate the amount of your monthly retirement benefit by following these five steps:

  • Determine your total earnings. The SSA looks at the 35 years in which you made the most money, up to a maximum of $127,200 annually. Any years that you did not work count as zero income.
  • Divide the amount in step one by 420 months (35 years X 12 months a year) and round down to the nearest dollar. This number is your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
  • Determine your benefit amount at the age you are first eligible to receive full benefits. (90% of your first $885 of AIME) + 32% of AIME above $885 and through $5,336) + (15% of AIME above $5,336)
  • Determine your Benefit if you retire early. If you retire early and want to collect benefits, the amount you receive will be reduced.
  • Determine any reductions for earned income while you receive benefits. If you make any kind of income while you also receive retirement benefits, your payment amount will be reduced. For every two dollars you make, your retirement benefit will be reduced by one dollar.

If you have any questions about the amount of retirement benefits you will receive, contact the Clauson Law Firm today.


If you’ve suffered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or you know someone who has, then you already know the devastating effect it can have on your ability to live a full, normal life. Because of addiction, many people find it difficult to hold down a full-time job. In this situation, you might be wondering if a program like Social Security Disability (SSDI) could help you. You might be wondering, are there disability benefits for drug addicts?

Disability Benefits for Alcoholics and Drug Addicts

In short, the answer to this question is no. While there are benefits available for a great many things, an addiction problem like drugs or alcohol is currently not covered. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no hope. While the addiction itself might not be covered – even though it has severely impacted your life – it’s possible that there are physical or mental side effects to your addiction that are, in fact, covered.

It is well-known that chronic drug use can cause damage to your mind and body. Even if you are finally able to break the addiction, these impairments might never go away. It’s these conditions that SSDI might still be able to cover. While the SSA no longer carries a specific list of drug-related conditions that qualify, you can still apply for SSDI benefits if you can show you suffer from any of these long-term conditions. This list of conditions includes, but is not limited to, brain damage, liver damage, gastritis, pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, seizures, depression, anxiety disorder, or personality disorder.

To be considered eligible, however, the same conditions apply as for anyone applying to receive benefits. You must first be able to prove that you suffer from this condition. This is done through the submission of medical records and documents. You must also be able to show that this is a long-term condition (lasting for at least 12 months) and that it has severely impacted your ability to work or make money – in fact, your income can not exceed the limit of $1,170 per month.

This information is crucial if you are going to build your case, and it is vital that you keep thorough and complete records. Once you have them, you file your claim like everyone else and wait for an answer.

So, while there might not be specific disability benefits for drug addicts, you can still qualify for SSDI payments under certain conditions. If you would like to know more, please contact us today.


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