The Issue

People with histories of addiction face discrimination in a number of laws and policies, including public benefit and housing programs.  Advocacy is needed to reform these discriminatory policies.

Current Initiatives

  • Advocating for Congress to pass the REDEEM Act
  • Advocating for Congress to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)
New York City and State
  • Advocating to expand sealing of New York State criminal convictions for those who are in recovery

Policy Recommendations

  • No barriers to disability payments: Congress and the Social Security Administration should eliminate or reduce barriers to SSI/DI access for individuals with substance use disorders.  Congress should revisit legislation banning disability eligibility for those whose addiction is a contributing factor to their disability.  The Social Security Administration should utilize its flexibility to consider what is in the best interest of SSI/DI applicants and beneficiaries.  SSI/DI beneficiaries in need of addiction services should be able to access them as freely as they access other health services.
  • No barriers to nutrition and assistance: Congress should repeal the drug felony ban on TANF and SNAP benefits and avoid passing any new laws that create additional barriers to receiving these and other benefits. The Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture should also aggressively encourage states to opt out of or modify the ban so that their residents can receive the benefits they desperately need.
  • More housing opportunities: Barriers to housing for people with criminal records and histories of addiction should be eliminated. These include legal and policy barriers as well as private discrimination.

Learn More

To learn more about this issue, visit our Substance Use Resources.

To learn more about LAC’s impact, see our Accomplishments.

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