January 1, 2014

Social Security Disability Benefits for Chronic Migraines

At times it may be difficult, it is possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits for severe migraines. My clients who suffer from this type of headache have migraines that can last from 2 to 72 hours, and are very debilitating. It is important that you have thorough medical records to document the persistence and severity of the migraines to prove how they affect your ability to work.

Most doctors believe that migraines are a neurovascular disorder. The exact mechanism for the head pain is still up for debate, but some patients with debilitating migraines can feel an “aura”, or a spreading of pain throughout the brain and surrounding blood vessels. Migraines can be diagnosed by using the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria” according to the International Headache Society. This can be used for patients whether they can feel the aura or not. According to the I.H.S. symptoms of migraines include:

  • Five or more attacks (two if patient can feel the aura)
  • 4 hours to 3 days in duration
  • Two or more of the following:
  • Unilateral (affecting only half of the head)
  • Pulsating
  • Moderate or severe pain intensity
  • Aggravation by causing avoidance of routine physical activity
  • One or more of the following
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to both light and sound

Social Security does not have a specific listing for migraines in its List of Impairments, but this does not mean that you cannot receive disability benefits if your migraines keep you from being able to work. With a solid documented medical history, a good case can be made for social security benefits. From my experience, some of the most important evidence in showing the Social Security Administration that migraine headaches keep you from working are medical records showing a history of consistent treatment, preferably by a migraine specialist.Some doctors recommend you keep a diary of the following information, to help them make a more accurate diagnosis as well as show the Social Security Administration the frequency and severity of your migraines. This information of your condition can help with your claim. Here are the suggested items to keep track of in your diary:

  • Date of migraine
  • Length and intensity of pain
  • Description of aura, if applicable
  • Preceeding symtoms and possible triggers
  • Dosage of medication and level of relief

If your severe migraines are preventing you from completing your work or daily activities you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you have any questions about the application process or what it takes to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, feel free to contact my office for a free consultation today.

 

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