Migraines are a pretty common affliction. Most of us have suffered from it at some point in our lives. But is migraine a disability?
It depends. If it severely affects your quality of life or ability to work, then it could be considered a disability. Note, however, that claiming disability on migraine alone will not be easy due to the nature of its symptoms.
So if you’re looking to claim disability for migraines or wondering if your symptoms constitute a disability, here’s a quick guide for you.
Migraines vs. Headache
Before delving further, it’s important to note that migraines are different from regular headaches.
Migraine is a neurological disease involving nerves and brain chemicals. Because of this, people suffering from migraine experience severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. The pain can last from a few hours to a few days. It can also come with other symptoms like:
- extreme sensitivity to light
In some cases, these symptoms can become so severe that it leads to temporary blindness.
Headaches, on the other hand, are symptoms rather than an actual disorder. It can be caused by a range of factors – from hunger to insomnia. The pain usually only lasts a few hours and is generally less intense and less debilitating than migraines.
Can You Claim Disability for Migraines?
Yes, you can definitely claim disability benefits for migraines BUT only if you meet the SSA’s definition of disability.
According to the SSA, a medical condition can only qualify as a disability if:
- it prevents you from doing the work you previously did, adjusting to any other type of work, or engaging in any substantial gainful activity
- it has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or result in death
If your migraine is disabling enough to meet the above-mentioned requirements, then you can claim disability benefits.
In some cases, migraine is merely a symptom of an underlying disease such as:
- brain tumor
- traumatic brain injury
- inflammation in the brain’s blood vessels
- increased or decreased intracranial pressure
If the underlying disease meets the SSA’s definition of disability, you may also claim disability for that condition instead of migraine alone.
Why It’s Hard to Claim Disability for Migraine
While it’s possible to claim disability benefits for migraine, it won’t be that easy. That’s because migraine, as a disability, is pretty difficult to prove.
Unlike other types of disability, migraine symptoms are very subjective. There are no lab tests or imaging studies to definitely prove or disprove the existence of migraine. Your doctor will only rely on the symptoms that you tell them to make a diagnosis.
In addition, migraine symptoms can vary widely for each individual. Some may experience debilitating nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms for days. While others may only suffer from a throbbing pain for hours.
Besides, we all have different pain tolerance. A disabling pain for some might not be that painful for others.
All these make it hard to establish or prove that your migraine is disabling enough to be considered a disability.
How to Claim Disability Benefits for Migraines
If you think your condition meets the SSA’s definition of disability, here’s how you can apply for disability benefits:
1. Gather Medical Evidence
As mentioned, getting disability benefits for migraine isn’t easy. So the first thing you need to do when applying for benefits is to gather enough medical evidence.
The most obvious evidence you’ll need is a diagnosis by your doctor. You may also need other medical evidence like:
- results of any other additional tests (MRI, CT Scan, etc.) to rule out any condition that could be causing the throbbing pain in your head;
- records of your trips to the doctor or the emergency room;
- your doctor’s notes detailing the frequency and severity of your migraines;
- statements from family, friends, and other family members who witnessed your migraine;
- your treatment records and any medications you’ve taken
2. Gather Other Supporting Evidence
Aside from medical evidence, you’ll also need to attach other supporting evidence to prove that you meet the SSA’s disability requirement. This includes:
- records of your employment history
- education records
- statements from people you frequently interact with
3. File an Application for Disability Benefits
After getting all the medical and other supporting evidence you’ll need, it’s time to file your benefits claim.
You can apply for benefits online, by phone, or in person. You can check out the SSA’s site for further instructions on how to submit a disability application.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Ideally, you should. Hiring an experienced social security disability lawyer like Victor Malca will greatly improve your chances of getting approved for benefits.
He had been advocating for the rights of disabled individuals in Florida for almost 30 years. So, he knows the SSA’s rules and policies like the back of his hand. From gathering evidence to representing you in court (if necessary), he can help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.