Two ways to be found disabled, but not eligible to receive North Carolina Social Security disability benefits

Call a North Carolina Social Security disability benefits lawyer from the Bridgman Law Offices at (704) 815-6055 for help with your disability case.

The Social Security Administration uses a 5-step sequential evaluation process to evaluate every claim for North Carolina Social Security disability benefits. If a claimant satisfies the 5-steps, then he or she is found "disabled," and awarded benefits. In two instances, however, a claimant for North Carolina Social Security disability benefits may be found "disabled," but deemed ineligible to receive benefits. This happens when (1) alcoholism or other drug abuse is a material factor in the determination of disability; or (2) the claimant refuses to follow a prescribed course of treatment.

The regulations provide that the Social Security decision-maker will not find a claimant disabled if the claimant, without good reason, fails to follow prescribed treatment. A determination finding a claimant not disabled on this basis is made only after Social Security finds that the claimant is otherwise disabled. The treatment must be prescribed by the claimant's own doctor, and must be "clearly expected to restore" the claimant's ability to work. Similarly, if drug addiction or alcoholism is a "contributing factor material to the determination of disability," a claimant will be found not disabled. The Social Security decision-maker will consider this issue only after it is determined that the claimant is disabled, taking into account all impairments, including any impairments involving drug addiction or alcoholism. After this disability determination is made, the decision-maker will look at the claimant's impairments again to consider whether the claimant would still be disabled if he or she stopped abusing alcohol or drugs.