Does Social Security Drug Test Disability Recipients?

If you have applied for or currently receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may be concerned about drug testing by this agency. The SSA does not currently have a drug screening or testing policy for those who receive disability payments. It does, however, have questions relating to your use of drugs or alcohol on the application you fill out to be considered for these benefits. While you will not be tested specifically for drug or alcohol use, this information may come to light during the SSA's examination of your medical records or in interviews with SSA-approved doctors.

How Does Drug Use Affect My Eligibility?

When you apply for SSA disability benefits, the application contains numerous questions about your current state of health, your habits and your use or abuse of various substances. These may include illegal drugs, prescription medications or alcohol. It's essential that you answer honestly when filling out this application. Past or current use of controlled substances is not automatic grounds for denial of your application by the SSA. In some cases, it may consider your drug or alcohol abuse as a further symptom of your disability. 

You may be required to visit an SSA-approved physician to receive an examination. The information you provide to this medical professional can also be supplied to the SSA. It's likely that any attempt to conceal current drug or alcohol abuse will be uncovered during the application process. For this and other reasons, honesty is the best policy when applying for disability benefits.

Why Being Honest Is Essential

If you currently receive disability payments from the SSA, you will not be subjected to a drug test to maintain your benefits. The SSA will, however, have access to all your medical records, which may include blood and urine tests that could indicate the use of drugs or the excessive use of alcohol. This information can be used by the SSA to determine your initial and ongoing eligibility for disability benefits. If you aren't honest on your application or with SSA physicians or representatives, your application for disability benefits can be denied outright even if you would have been approved for benefits otherwise.

You can apply for SSA disability benefits online or at your local Social Security office. Be prepared to document your disability with the names of your doctors, the dates on which you visited these healthcare professionals and the medications you are currently taking. This will streamline the application process for both online and in-person requests for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.