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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

On Schizophrenia, Marijuana and Disability

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Mar 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Those persons who are claiming disability due to mental illnesses have the additional burden of showing that their mental impairments are not due to the use of such illegal substances as marijuana. The burden of proof is on the claimant to show the drug use is not "material."  Drug use is not material if the mental impairments would continue even without the drug usage.  Almost nobody involved in Social Security disability, including judges, ever gets this right. There is a Social Security Ruling that explains in exacting detail how to deal with mental illness and substance abuse. It appears that most of the time, adjudicators skip right past the ruling. Instead of analyzing the substance abuse in accordance with the ruling, they will cast the drug usage as an indicator of credibility instead.  This is a creative short cut that can take the adjudicator where he or she wishes to go. But it is also a violation of the Social Security Ruling. If the Social Security does make the effort to solicit the opinion of  doctor about mental illness and drug use, the results are not often much better. For example, some doctors will note in passing that "everyone know" that marijuana make psychosis worse. Oh? The actual researchshows that there is no clear connection.  In some cases, marijuana can have a therapeutic, or at least palliative affect.  While it is understandable why we as a society don't wish to reward what is, after all, illegal conduct, we still have to deal with substance abuse in a measured, thoughtful way. Otherwise, it's Reefer Madness redux. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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