Medical Marijuana May Lead to Increase in Social Security Disability Recipients

In 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Use Act into law. The law made the production and sale of cannabis medicine that does not exceed 0.5% THC legal for sale and for use by people with epilepsy. However, it wasn’t until September 2017 that the first medical marijuana license was issued in our state. Now, there is a movement to make medical marijuana available to a larger group of people. While there are many different issues to consider, today we are going to consider the impact of medical marijuana on Social Security disability claims.

A Medical Marijuana Law May Mean More Social Security Disability Claims

According to a working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research in September 2017, researchers from Temple University, University of Cincinnati, and Johns Hopkins found that once a state passed a medical marijuana law, Social Security disability claims rose almost 10% and that the percentage of people receiving Social Security benefits rose by more than 2.5%. The most significant increase in Social Security disability claims came among people aged 23-40. For this population, there was a 24% increase in Social Security disability applications.

So far, researchers are unable to identify the reason for the increase in applications and eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. One possibility, according to researchers, is that the side effects of marijuana include things such as difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and headaches. These things may make it difficult to work even if the symptoms of the underlying medical condition are eased.

You Still Have to Meet the Eligibility Requirements in Order to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits

Regardless of your underlying medical condition or the impact of medical marijuana on your ability to work, you will need to prove that you qualify for Social Security disability in order to obtain monthly benefits. Whether you qualify will depend on the specific medical condition you have, the treatments you have tried, whether you can work, and other factors. For more information about your eligibility for benefits, please read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, or call us directly for an initial consultation.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law
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