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Are migraines considered disabling for SSDI?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Migraines are one of the most common medical conditions in the world – and they can be quite debilitating. 

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers migraine to be one of the top 10 most disabling medical conditions anywhere – but does a migraine disorder qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

It’s taken years for migraines to be treated as a real medical condition

For a long time, migraines were seen as largely an anxiety disorder or even just dramatics, instead of the complex neurological event that they are – but that has changed.

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) has no official listing in its “Blue Book” for migraines, it does now officially recognize the fact that “primary headache disorders” like migraines can be disabling. The agency has established a set of criteria for evaluating such claims.

In general, SSA will look closely at how you were diagnosed. An expert evaluation by a neurologist who rules out the possibility that your migraines are a secondary disorder (a symptom of some underlying and treatable condition) can help you establish the validity of your condition. 

In addition, SSA will look at the overall effect your migraines have on your ability to function, which is where a pain and symptom diary can help. That kind of record can help illustrate just how often you have migraines, as well as how long it takes you to fully recover. The more frequent your migraines, the more disabling the condition may be.

SSA also looks carefully at your medical records to see if your physicians were ever able to physically observe your symptoms – including those in the pre-migraine phase (the aura) and after the acute attack has passed. The agency will also look at what treatments you have tried and how effective they were (or weren’t).

If you suffer from a migraine disorder that makes it impossible for you to work, legal assistance can help you obtain the benefits you need.

 

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