A doctor writing a prescription with a medical bottle of cannabis buds beside him.

How Marijuana Impacts Your Social Security Disability Claim

What Is the SSA’s Position on Cannabis? 

While marijuana is legal in Washington for recreational or medical uses, it is still illegal under federal law. Since the Social Security Administration (SSA) is an organization under federal law, they may view marijuana use negatively, even if the person uses it for medical reasons. This negative perception may cause the administrative law judge to deny or be skeptical of your disability claim.

If you have a physical disability, it is easier to prove that your cannabis use doesn’t contribute to your condition. However, for mental disabilities, it is more challenging to prove that your use of cannabis doesn’t contribute to your condition. For the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance use can cause mental illness development as much as mental illness can cause substance use. This can impact your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. 

How Might Medical Cannabis Impact Your Claim? 

It can complicate the process of getting your Social Security disability benefits. If SSA representatives deny your claim due to your marijuana use, you can request a hearing with the judge. The judge will have your case investigated if your marijuana use is exacerbating your symptoms, especially if you are using it for psychiatric conditions.

The SSA may call for psychiatric providers if your use of marijuana:

  • Causes symptoms
  • Contributes to your disability
  • Worsen your condition and prevent you from working if you stop using cannabis

However, you may have a chance to counter negative testimonies. If you are a qualified patient for cannabis, your authorization form can be used as proof of necessity. Your registered card for purchasing medical cannabis can also prove that you use it for medical purposes. Having a social security lawyer can help you navigate your case in court.

If you use marijuana for recreational purposes, your chances of getting your disability claim are lower.

What to Do to Strengthen Your Case? 

While the SSA may view marijuana in a negative light, it is still possible to qualify for benefits. Here are ways to increase your chance of getting your disability claim approved:

Get all medical evidence related to your disability.
Medical evidence includes doctor’s notes in your patient’s files, diagnostic test results, prescriptions, a letter from your doctor as an expert on your case, and more.

Ask your doctor for a replacement for marijuana.
If you can afford to substitute marijuana for another prescription, it can increase your chance of getting your social security benefits. You will still have to be truthful about your marijuana use history, but it is still important to be upfront.

Consult an attorney.
Your social security attorney can protect your rights while strengthening your case for all potential questions the SSA may have about marijuana use.

Let Us Help You Win Your Case with SSDI

Marijuana use can affect your disability claim due to its illegality under federal law. However, it shouldn’t necessarily disqualify you from accessing disability benefits. Here at Marken Law Group, we help individuals like you strengthen their case and prove the validity of your medical marijuana use. Consult us for free to know the best first step to take.