Social Security Disability for Migraine SufferersPosted November 6, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®
The Migraine Research Foundation reports that around 18% of women and 6% of men in the United States suffer from migraines. Approximately 90% of these individuals are unable to work during an active migraine and often for hours or even days after an attack. If you are among them, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits.
While most sufferers experience a migraine attack about once or twice a month, the Migraine Research Foundation reports that around 14 million Americans are affected by debilitating pain, fatigue, and other symptoms on a daily basis. As the eighth leading cause of disability in the world, according to the World Health Organization, migraines may prevent employment entirely and may erode your social life, your enjoyment of hobbies, and even your ability to care for yourself, you home, your pets, or your children.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has no set standard disability listing for migraines in their adult listings, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get approved for benefits with chronic migraines. It simply means you’ll need to prove that you’re unable to maintain a full-time job and earn a gainful living due to your limitations.
To determine your eligibility, the SSA will look at your daily limitations, consider the frequency and severity of your headaches (including associated symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, or light and noise sensitivity, etc. which may cause you to miss work), examine your employment options, and review your medical evidence.
Although there is no definitive test to diagnose migraines, the SSA will want to see in your medical records that your doctor has diagnosed you with recurrent migraine headaches. Migraines can often be diagnosed based on the patient’s reporting of their symptoms and the presence of a family history of migraines. In addition, doctors may order additional tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan to rule out other reasons for the headaches.
The SSA will also be looking for things like the following in your medical file:
- doctors’ notes regarding the frequency and severity of your migraines
- results of any tests done to rule out other conditions
- list of medications and other treatments tried, and their outcomes, and
- records from any ER visits or hospitalizations related to your migraines.
The SSA may also ask your doctor(s) to complete a report or questionnaire regarding your medical condition. In some cases, they will also seek input from family members or friends who are around you on a frequent basis. If, after taking all of these factors into account, the SSA finds that you are unable to perform the essential job duties of any job for which you are otherwise qualified, then you will be deemed medically qualified for disability benefits.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®