According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cannabis is one of the most widely-used drugs in the world. In the United States, approximately 19.8 million people indicated they had used marijuana in the last month. People use marijuana for a variety of reasons. Some people use it to help calm their nerves, others to help with pain, others for recreational use. Whatever its alleged benefits are, marijuana use may affect your social security disability claim.
Legality of Marijuana Use, Medical or Otherwise
Medical marijuana use is legal in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and about 20 other states. Ten states, including Illinois, have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. However, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Since the Social Security Administration is a federal agency, any use of marijuana may have a negative impact on your social security disability claim.
Even the legal use of medical marijuana could influence an administrative law judge to deny or at least be suspicious of your disability claim.
Marijuana’s Effect on Your Condition
While processing your application, the Social Security Administration will investigate your claim. If you have used marijuana in any form, investigators will be looking to see if marijuana use has affected you in any of the following ways:
- Has your marijuana use contributed to your disability?
- Would your disabling condition continue to prevent you from working if you stopped using marijuana?
- Are any of your symptoms caused by marijuana?
Your social security disability claim may particularly be in jeopardy if you are alleging psychiatric problems like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The Social Security Administration may call medical experts and psychiatric providers to testify that drug use, even marijuana, can exacerbate psychiatric symptoms.
However, you may be able to counter any negative testimony by providing proof that your medical marijuana use is medically approved. As always, it’s best to get legal advice before filing a social security disability claim, especially if you have to admit medical marijuana use.
Talk to a Disability Attorney About Your Social Security Disability Claim
Disability laws are complicated. The attorneys at Parmele Law, P.C., provide compassionate advocacy combined with years of experience with disability claims.
If you have any questions about a Social Security claim, contact a disability attorney at any of our offices across Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call (618) 266-4038 or submit the Contact Form on our website for a free consultation.