Migraines are neurologically caused headaches. They are typically experienced on only half of the head and often include accompanying symptoms such as:
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
- Smell sensitivity
- Auras (blurred peripheral vision, usually before the onset of a migraine headache)
Contrary to popular notion, not all migraines are severe. Migraines can be completely debilitating, or they can be mild. Symptoms can last as little as a few hours or several days. While many who suffer an occasional migraine can work and function normally in society, those who have chronic migraines can find their ability to work, function and live a normal life severely impacted.
Applying for Social Security Disability with Chronic Migraines
As with most other conditions, there is a lengthy process to apply for Social Security disability benefits with chronic migraines. Although the condition has neurological causes, the SSA does not include migraines under their criteria for adjudicating neurological conditions. In fact, there is not a specific listing for migraines in the Blue Book.
To qualify for disability based on migraines, you need to meet several criteria:
- First, the condition must be medically documented.
- Secondly, the documentation must show that you have followed your health care professional’s advice in trying to treat the problem medically.
- Generally speaking, you must show that your condition has persisted for a year or longer, or that it is expected to last that long.
You must also show that your condition makes it impossible for you to perform any work for which you are qualified.
In determining whether you can still reasonably be expected to work, the SSA will consider:
- all of the jobs you have held over the past fifteen years and whether or not your chronic migraines would preclude you from performing that job.
- They will also consider any training or education you have to see if there are any other types of employment available for which you are qualified which you could do despite your chronic migraines.
While you are preparing to make your claim, it’s a good idea of keep a journal of your migraines, noting the duration, symptoms, and severity of each occurrence. You should also make note of all daily activities which are affected by your migraines. Even apparently minor things such as whether you can sit or stand in one place for extended periods of time can have an impact on whether you are deemed completely disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Be prepared to go through a tough fight to get an approval of benefits. Most Social Security disability claims for chronic migraines are denied in the initial stages, especially if there is not an overwhelming amount of medical evidence which supports the fact that your migraines have a severe impact on your ability to work or perform activities of daily living.
Hiring an Attorney for Your Chronic Migraine Disability Case
Dealing with the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be a headache in and of itself. Trying to establish complete disability due to chronic migraines isn’t easy, but it is possible. Most claimants should seek the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. Not only will they take a lot of the headache out of the claims and appeals process, but having a qualified representative nearly doubles your chances of receiving an approval.
Social Security disability lawyers know what kind of evidence the SSA needs to see before they will award you disability benefits for chronic migraines. Your initial consultation with a disability lawyer is free. Your Social Security lawyer will only collect a fee if you are awarded benefits. In most cases, your legal fees will be handled directly by the SSA, as a portion of any back pay to which you are entitled.