According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a shocking seven percent of United States war veterans struggle with substance abuse issues like drug and alcohol addictions. Many of these substance abuse problems are connected with military service and mental health issues related to active duty, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Substance abuse by veterans takes three common forms: illegal drug use, prescription drug abuse, and alcohol addiction.
Can I get disability benefits for my drug or alcohol addiction?
While you cannot usually get disability benefits for a drug addiction you developed in the service, VA regulations allow for secondary service connection of the substance abuse issue. This means that you may get support if you can prove that your substance abuse disorder (and any health problems caused by your addiction) is caused by the PTSD that was caused by your military service.
Will a drug or alcohol abuse issue harm my unrelated VA disability claim?
Unlike Social Security disability claims, the VA is willing to listen to and understand cases in which a disabled veteran struggles with substance abuse. This is because they recognize that many veterans cope with disabilities – especially mental health issues – by turning to drugs and alcohol. If your substance abuse is a case of willful misconduct, you may be denied. But if it is related to another health issue, you may still receive benefits.
Will the VA help me in other ways when it comes to my substance abuse or addiction?
Yes, the VA is a good resource to turn to when it comes to treating your drug or alcohol problem. If you are suffering from an addiction, the VA can diagnose your issue, get you into a treatment program, and even connect you with other veterans who you can relate to. The VA will also work to treat your underlying issues, such as PTSD. It is extremely important that you are open and honest about your problem and that you seek help – it is the first step toward recovery.
Texas veterans’ disability attorneys
Sadly, many veterans sacrifice much more than their physical wellbeing when they serve our country – far too many returns from active duty suffering from mental health issues and connected substance abuse issues. It is vital that you get treatment for these health problems and that you get the financial support you need for any service-connected conditions. To learn more about VA disability benefits, talk to a Dallas disability benefits attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod: 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.