If chronic migraines are affecting your ability to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security, providing both financial support and access to healthcare. Migraines rank as a prevalent disabling brain disorder worldwide. In the U.S. 

Understanding the criteria set by the Social Security Administration for disability qualification are crucial for a smoother application process if you’re living with migraines or a chronic migraine diagnosis.

Is Migraine a disability?

Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes severe migraines as a disability, but meeting specific criteria is essential. Simply having a diagnosis isn’t sufficient; you must demonstrate that your migraines significantly hinder your ability to work or perform daily activities. The SSA has stringent medical criteria that need to be met to qualify for migraine disability benefits.

What is Migraine?

Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, intense headaches often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound. These headaches can cause significant pain and disruption, lasting for hours to days. 

Migraines are more than just headaches; they involve a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors, impacting various aspects of a person’s life. Some people may experience migraine-related disability affecting their daily life activities such as household work and employment. Some of the migraine associated disabilities are depression, anxiety, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and sleep disorders

Can You Get Disability For Migraine?

You can qualify for disability benefits due to migraines if you meet the specific criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The severity, frequency, and impact of your migraines on your ability to work and perform daily activities are crucial factors considered in the disability evaluation process. It’s important to provide comprehensive medical documentation and adhere to the SSA’s guidelines to enhance your chances of approval for disability benefits based on migraines.

What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines?

Migraines are a type of headache disorder characterized by recurrent, throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by other symptoms. The symptoms can vary, and some individuals may experience different symptoms during different migraine episodes. Common symptoms of migraines include:

  • Headache Pain: Migraine headaches are typically intense and throbbing, often on one side of the head. The pain can be moderate to severe and may last for hours to days.
  • Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia): Many people with migraines are sensitive to light and may prefer to be in a dark or dimly lit room during an episode.
  • Sensitivity to Sound (Phonophobia): Loud noises or certain sounds may worsen migraine symptoms, and individuals with migraines may seek a quiet environment.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Migraines can be associated with nausea and, in some cases, vomiting. This gastrointestinal component is common in migraine attacks.
  • Aura: Some individuals experience a phenomenon called an aura before or during a migraine. Auras are usually visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots. Auras can also involve other sensory changes or disturbances in speech.
  • Blurred Vision: Migraines may cause temporary visual disturbances, such as blurred vision or seeing spots.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Some people may feel dizzy or lightheaded during a migraine episode.
  • Fatigue: Migraines can be draining, and individuals may feel tired or fatigued during and after an episode.

What Are The 3 Types Of Migraines?

There are 3 types of migraines that include the following:

  • Migraine without Aura (Common Migraine): Characterized by moderate to severe headaches without preceding visual disturbances.
  • Migraine with Aura (Classic Migraine): Involves visual or sensory disturbances known as auras before the onset of headaches, such as flashing lights or zigzag patterns.
  • Chronic Migraine: This occurs when migraines occur on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, with at least eight days featuring migrainous headaches.

Eligibility Criteria For Migraine Disability Benefits

To be eligible for disability benefits due to migraines, you must meet the following criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Frequency and Duration: The migraines must occur frequently, with a specific number of episodes per month, and they should have a significant duration, typically lasting a certain number of hours.
  • Intensity of Pain: The pain associated with migraines should be severe, often requiring bed rest or limiting your ability to perform daily activities.
  • Medical Documentation: Comprehensive medical documentation is crucial. This includes records of your diagnosis, treatment history, medications, and any side effects experienced.
  • Functional Limitations: Your migraines must cause functional limitations that impact your ability to work or handle daily activities. This may involve difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light or sound, and other impairments.
  • Consistency with SSA Guidelines: Ensure that your case aligns with the specific guidelines outlined by the SSA for evaluating migraines as a disability.

Questions To Ask Before Applying For Migraine Disability

Before applying for migraine disability, consider asking the following questions to ensure you have a clear understanding of the process and your eligibility:

  • Do I Meet SSA Criteria?
  • Is My Medical Documentation Comprehensive?
  • Have I Consulted a Healthcare Professional?
  • Am I Aware of the SSA Guidelines?
  • What Is the Likelihood of Approval?
  • Have I Explored Alternative Support Services?
  • Am I Prepared for the Application Process?

Related posts: How to apply for the disability benefits?

What If You Meet The Eligibility Criteria For Migraine?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for migraine disability, you can proceed with the application process for Social Security disability benefits. Ensure you have comprehensive medical documentation, including records of your migraines’ frequency, severity, and impact. 

Submit a thorough and accurate application, and if necessary, seek assistance from a disability attorney to navigate the process smoothly. Meeting the eligibility criteria increases your chances of approval, allowing you to access the financial support and healthcare benefits provided by Social Security. 

What If  You Do Not Meet The Eligibility Criteria For Migraine Disability?

Even if your migraines don’t precisely meet the specified criteria, it’s advisable to still apply for disability benefits if their severity, frequency, or number significantly impairs your ability to work. Qualifying for disability is challenging, with approximately 20% success on initial applications. 

Opting to appeal allows you to submit new medical evidence and present your case to a judge, increasing your chances of approval. Over half of applicants win their case during appeals, making it a crucial step in pursuing the support you need.

How Much Is The Disability For Migraine?

If you’re diagnosed with a neurological disorder like chronic migraines, the average monthly Social Security disability payment is approximately $1,304.03. It’s important to note that the specific condition doesn’t directly dictate the payment amount. 

Instead, the Social Security Administration calculates payments based on factors like your work history and additional sources of income, providing a broader assessment of financial support.

Denied Migraine Disability Benefits? Talk To An Attorney

A Social Security Disability Attorney can assist with disability benefits by providing expertise in navigating complex regulations and representing you at hearings or appeals if necessary. Their legal knowledge helps optimize your case to meet Social Security Administration criteria, increasing the likelihood of a successful claim.

FAQs On Migraine Disability

To obtain a 50% VA disability for migraines, provide detailed medical documentation showcasing the severity and impact of your migraines on daily life, submitting a compelling claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Chronic migraine can be considered a disability if it significantly impairs your ability to work or perform daily activities, meeting specific criteria set by disability evaluation systems such as the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Migraine disability assessments often involve obtaining comprehensive medical records, documenting the frequency and intensity of migraines, and presenting this evidence during disability claim evaluations with relevant authorities. Seeking assistance from healthcare professionals or disability attorneys can streamline this process.

Disability Conditions That May Qualify For Benefits

Blindness Brain Tumor AFIB Autism
BPD Cancer Narcolepsy PTSD
Vertigo Schizophrenia Seizure Dyslexia
Celiac Disease Anxiety Depression ADHD
Agoraphobia Alopecia Asthma Bipolar
Breast Cancer Dementia Dysautonomia Epilepsy
Fibromyalgia Hearing Loss lupus POTS
Scoliosis Sleep Apnea Diabetes