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Migraines: not your ordinary headache

If you live with migraine headaches, you know the discomfort can range from pressure and pain to agonizing reactions to sound, light and touch. The world hurts. If your migraines strike occasionally, they can be debilitating, but you probably can continue working and maintain the rest of the responsibilities of your life. Others are not so lucky. Their encounters with migraines may be frequent and overwhelming. These are chronic migraines and they may leave you disabled, unable to even hold a job.

Chronic migraines are estimated to afflict up to 2 percent of the U.S. population, and they are as disabling as being confined to a wheelchair due to quadriplegia. Perhaps more so, as many people in that situation are still able to maintain gainful employment using various technologies and other accommodations. When you cannot think because of the pain, your disability is at yet another level. Migraines of this type may qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, but there are challenges.

There are no straightforward tests to determine the extent or severity of migraines. This means that in order to be eligible for disability benefits, you need to create a narrative, consisting of medical evidence, which adequately describes your condition as truly disabling.

This evidence can consist of your doctor visits and a record of their notes. Any hospitalizations due to migraine attacks and the kinds of treatment you have received.

This information is important, because if you have not received the typical drugs or treatment, the Social Security Administration may deny your claim, requiring that your rule out the other treatments first before they can classify your migraines as disabling.

The more complete the picture of your disability, the more likely your claim is to be approved.

Source: USA Today, "Researcher works to unlock mysteries of migraines," Tim Johnson, May 16, 2013

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

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