Marijuana Use and Your Disability Claim06 Feb
Marken Law Group, PS, understands that people view marijuana differently, some as an alternative medicine used for pain, to aid nausea and potentially other benefits and others who view it as a drug to stay away from like other illicit drugs. We will leave the benefits/risks up to a persons doctor to explain. We also are not advocating or condemning marijuana use. We are, however, explaining what it could mean for your Social Security Disability claim.
Marijuana is currently, at the time of this posting, legal in 9 states including Washington D.C. Despite this, marijuana is still ILLEGAL as far as the federal government is concerned.
The Social Security Administration is a federal entity, therefore they view marijuana as an illicit drug the likes of meth, cocaine, and so on. Most judges we go in front of, do NOT view marijuana as a healthy alternative to opiod medication. While there is MUCH debate on this topic and we are not here to discuss the debate, the Judges who will hear your case will not like your use of marijuana, even if taken specifically for pain. If your issues are primarily PHYSICAL, marijuana will not necessarily hurt your case. You do need to be prepared and have a thorough understanding of what the Judge WILL ask you at your hearing.
If you have mental health diagnosis and take marijuana, it is a more difficult road. Our clients often take marijuana to help with social anxiety and depression. The problem is the medical community and the Judge’s, most likely, view marijuana as CONTRIBUTING to anxiety and depression. Indeed I have personally seen Judge’s roll their eyes when a claimant is testifying to their marijuana use helping their anxiety. Whether it does or does not is not really important. The fact is, most Judges and medical experts testifying, will view marijuana use as a significant detriment to mental health and stability and it could prevent you from obtaining benefits.
Each case is specific and this should in no way be construed to be blanket statements concerning all judges and medical experts.
At Marken Law Group, PS, we can walk you through the hearing process and what to expect come examination from the Administrative Law Judge who is hearing your claim.