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Posted on: 02/07/13

Drug Use and Disability


Category: Article

With states around Idaho approving recreational and medicinal marijuana, I want to plainly state that SSA is a federal program, hence federal laws apply. When we argue your claim, if drug use is happening, it can negatively impact your claim. In some instances it can cause your claim to be completely denied. In others, the past use of drugs can change when a judge finds you disabled, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.

A few years ago I represented a client who had an extensive drug history, but about a year before he filed his claim he went through rehab and was sober. He maintained sobriety for about 18 months, then went on a fishing trip with some friends, and smoked one joint. He was then sober again from that point going forward for another 14 months when we had the hearing. The judge found him disabled, but refused to find him disabled prior to that fishing trip because of the one joint. He lost out on 18 months, and over $20,000 of past due benefits because of that one joint. So, as I have told people since that time, "If you find a joint worth $20,000, call me and I'll smoke it with you."


Ernest Shell's succussful claims include

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Meniere's disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Schizoaffective disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • And more
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