With more and more states passing legislature allowing the use of  medical marijuana the question has come up about how the use of marijuana may affect your Social Security Disability claim. Interestingly enough it is something that has come up in several of our recent hearings particularly those that are held in Colorado.

How Will the Use of Marijuana Technically Affect My Disability Claim?

As you may be aware, drug use in general is a hurdle to getting approved for Disability Benefits. If the judge thinks that your drug use is making your disabilities worse you will be denied for benefits. However, for many with physical disabilities the use of marijuana greatly helps with their pain management. In the past this has put people in a conundrum, do I use marijuana to improve my quality of life knowing that it may make me ineligible for disability benefits? With the legalization of marijuana this has technically resolved the issue. In states where the use of medical marijuana is legal, as long as you have a prescription the judge is suppose to look at this as if it were any other type of prescription drug.

How Will the Use of Marijuana Actually Affect My Disability Claim?

Recently, our attorney Matt Ormsby was at a hearing in Colorado. The very first question the judge asked the applicant was, “did you move to Colorado so you can smoke weed?” It is an unfortunate fact that some Judges do not agree with the legalization of marijuana and still retain a bias towards those who use it.

Our Recommendations

If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal we recommend consulting your doctor. Anything you can do to improve your quality of life should be utilized. In general doing everything you can to get better will look good on your disability application, it shows the judge you are trying to get well enough to work even if through all your efforts you are still not able to. If your doctor says you will benefit from marijuana make sure they write you a prescription for it and that prescription is documented in your medical records. If your doctor is willing to write a short statement explaining why they are recommending marijuana and what benefits it will have for you that written statement will go a long way. If your doctor does not recommend marijuana use do not use it as it will have a negative impact on your disability claim.

Hire an Experienced Disability Lawyer

Having an experienced disability attorney on your side can make the difference between winning and losing benefits. Our disability lawyers have been working with Social Security’s judges for a very long time. They will know if your particular judge will have any problems with your medical marijuana use before you get to the hearing and can prepare for it accordingly. Call us today for your free consultation. There is $0 up front and we will only collect a fee if we are able to get you benefits.

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