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Is Addiction A Disability?


Addiction and Disability

It’s easy to recognize diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s as a disability – these conditions affect movement, mobility, and even cognitive function. Sometimes more difficult to accept is addiction as a disability. To those who have never dealt with addiction personally, in the lives of their friends and loved ones, addiction can seem like a series of bad decisions rather than a legitimate illness. Stigma around addiction is strong, and often based around a misunderstanding of the disease and its causes.

Here at Share Lawyers, we represent a large number of clients who have addictions, including drug, alcohol and gambling addiction and have been denied benefits under either a group disability insurance policy or a private policy. These cases are usually heavily dependent on obtaining the necessary medical evidence to prove the disability in a way contemplated by the policy in question. Most policies contain time limits that can be difficult to interpret and so as soon as your claim for disability benefits has been denied, we would encourage you to contact our long-term disability lawyers to discuss your long-term disability dispute case to see if we can be of assistance to you and your family

An addiction which includes anxiety, depression, panic and other symptoms that interfere with day-to-day functioning can form the basis for a disability claim. Seeking professional help to deal with the addiction is generally a requirement for qualifying for disability benefits.
 

Are Addictions Covered Under Most Health Insurance Policies?

Having an addiction is generally recognized to be an illness. Whether the addiction will entitle a person to insurance benefits will depend on the specific provisions of the applicable insurance policy. Under the typical group policy, a substance abuse addiction to drugs or alcohol can form the basis of a disabling condition that would entitle an individual to disability benefits, provided that they are compliant with medical treatment, which may often include the necessity to be actively participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program.
Most Group Disability Benefit Policies do not specifically preclude a claim for disability based on an addiction. Most policies do have requirements for you to be engaged in appropriate treatment and specifically with respect to an addiction, a rehabilitation program aimed at addressing the addiction, but a denial of benefits solely on the basis that an addiction is not really a disability is something that can be challenged. The specific facts of each case must be reviewed to determine the possibility of successfully pursuing benefits or a settlement, but it is something that should definitely be looked into.

Do you suffer from an addiction? The legal experts here at Share Lawyers are available to discuss your legal rights and counsel you on next steps to obtain the disability benefits from your insurance company.
 

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