Winning Disability Benefits For Migraines And Headache Disorders
Applying for and winning short or long-term disability benefits for migraine and headache disorders in Canada can pose serious challenges.
Because headache disorders dont always appear as abnormalities on CT scans and MRIs, doctors dont always correctly diagnose them, and insurers often deny claims on that basis.
If migraines, cluster headaches, or tension-type headaches are preventing you from being able to work, this article contains essential information that can help you prepare to file a winning claim for disability benefits. This article is part of our series looking at disability benefits and medical conditions.
You are not alone. Around four million Canadians suffer from migraines and other debilitating headache disorders. Severe headaches are so disruptive to quality of life that the World Health Organization has classified them as one of the top 20 causes of disability worldwide.
Accommodating Employees With Migraines
People with migraines may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with migraines will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.
The Stigma Of Disability
In the United States, disability carries stigma, especially when the disease is something no one can see . People who are bedridden or housebound from illnesses like migraine, fibromyalgia, depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome are often considered lazy, flaky, or simply less than. If Im honest, though, my reluctance to acknowledge my disability stems more from my own feelings of uselessness than from any external judgment.
Contact A Social Security Disability Attorney At 512
A migraine with aura, or classic migraine, exhibits the same symptoms of a migraine without aura, but the individual may also experience the following visual disturbances:
- Blind spots
- Sparkles or stars
- Colored spots
Other aura symptoms include feeling pins and needles in the arms and legs, weakness on one side of the body, dizziness, and a feeling of spinning.
Migraines with aura may occur once a year or several times a year. 10% to 30% of migraine sufferers experience this type of migraine.
An individual may experience some warning symptoms a day or two before the actual migraine attack , such as depression and mood changes, frequent yawning, neck stiffness, unusual food cravings and increased thirst.
Twenty-four hours after a migraine attack, a person may experience a sensitivity to light and sound, confusion, dizziness, moodiness, weakness or a feeling of being drained. This is known as the postdrome phase.
Researchers link migraines to a number of genetic and environmental factors, particularly imbalances in brain chemicals, like serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate pain in the nervous system.
When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels in the brain shrink when serotonin levels are low, blood vessels swell causing pain.
Other triggers related to migraines include:
- Emotional stress
- Some medications, such as contraceptives and nitroglycerin
- Change in weather or barometric pressure
- Physical exertion
Still, your symptoms must meet certain requirements:
New York Chronic Migraine Disability Free Consultation
If youâre considering filing for Social Security Disability for chronic migraines the disability lawyers at Terry Katz & Associates law firm are here to guide you throughout the claim process. If youâve suffered from a migraine impairment that has placed your financial future into uncertainty, our migraine disability attorneys understand New York SSD law and will help you get the social security disability benefits youâre entitled to without the stress and fear of potentially being denied.Call us today at or complete the form below to request a free consultation with an experienced SSD attorney to learn if your chronic migraine qualifies for disability. The Social Security Administration, “24505.015 Finding Disability Based on the Listing of Impairments,”
It has been many years and so many rejections on from Social Security regarding SSDI.
One month after hiring Terry Katz & Associates, P.C., and the fabulous help of Lawyer Maggie Langdale, Esq., and Paralegal Jenny Pagan, I finally successfully won SSDI.
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How Does The Ssa Define Chronic Migraines
Headaches, and even chronic migraine headaches, are not one of the medical conditions considered severe enough by the Social Security Administration to have an official impairment listing, which is a medical definition describing the impairment and the severity required for an immediate award of Social Security disability benefits. Instead, the SSA will look at your medical evidence to determine if your migraines rise to the level of not allowing you to work. As a result, to be successful in your disability claim, it’s imperative that you provide substantial medical documentation to demonstrate your headaches’ disabling side effects.
How Are They Treated
Both migraine and chronic migraine can be treated with the same drugs. These include medications that treat the pain and symptoms as well as drugs that treat the underlying cause of migraine. In some cases, there are medical devices you can use to interrupt the headache. Still, no treatment is perfect.
Because of that, chronic migraines can take a toll on your personal life. If you get painful headaches for half of each month, you lose days of work or school and precious time with friends and family. Itâs common for people with chronic migraines to also have depression.
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Migraine Affects 1 In 7 In The Uk
Over 23% of the adult population in the UK suffers from migraine or other headache disorders. Migraine is therefore common amongst adults in the working age. This condition can have an impact on work life which is both distressing and challenging to cope with.
Migraine is a complex neurological condition with various complicated symptoms that differ from one person to the other. The common symptoms are sensitivity to light, sound and smells, feeling nauseated, vomiting, visual disturbances , dizziness, but the most debilitating is the headache. A typical migraine attack can render a sufferer incapacitated for few hours to a number of days, spending most of their time in dark closed rooms.
For more insight into migraine management read our factsheet .
If you are struggling with migraine at work or already suffer with migraine and are about to start a new job, download our Migraine at work advice sheet. This can help you manage your condition to lessen its impact on your work.
Chronic Migraine Disability Living Allowance
Although the term “chronic migraine headaches” does not appear on SSA’s Listing of Impairments, it is considered a medical equivalent to another disabling impairment on the Listing of Impairments: 11.03 epilepsy, non-convulsive. According to an example provided by SSA, some of the symptoms associated with migraines are similar to those associated with epilepsy, therefore making chronic migraines medically equivalent when it comes to applying for disability benefits.As you may or may not know, a physical or mental condition can still result in disability even if it does not appear on the Listing of Impairments or list of Compassionate Allowances. When this occurs, SSA must then determine if a condition is medically equivalent to a condition it does recognize as a disability.In the case of chronic migraines, there is an equivalent, which means a person living with this condition may qualify for disability benefits provided they can present evidence that shows how the condition prevents them from doing gainful activity and that the condition has or will last longer than a year.
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Are Migraines Listed In The Ssa Blue Book
The SSA Blue Book contains hundreds of medical conditions that may qualify individuals for disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration does not have a specific listing for chronic migraines. However, this does not make you ineligible for disability. The SSA will review your medical evidence to determine if your migraines are serious enough to be considered disabling. It is important to provide sufficient documentation that shows the side effects of your migraines to increase your chances of approval.
In some cases, chronic migraines may be an underlying symptom of another serious condition. Conditions that may cause chronic migraines include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Inflammation or other issues with blood vessels in the brain, including stroke
- Brain tumor
Fill Out An Application
You can mail an application or bring it to your local SSA office. Better yet, save time and start the process online.
Be prepared to share information within the application, such as:
- alternate contact
- medical and job worksheet form SSA-3381
- bank account information for direct deposit
The SSA will contact you if they need anything else. You may have to participate in a phone or in-person interview.
In the meantime, you can log in and check your application status anytime. Your application will be confirmed by email or mail.
Your application wont be considered if you dont have enough work history. And, if youre still working, thats definitely going to affect your case.
To qualify for disability benefits, the SSA must be convinced that:
- your migraine is severe enough to prevent you from doing your job
- you cant do other work based on your age, education, and skills
For the SSA to consider migraine a disability, it must be diagnosed by an acceptable medical source who:
- shows they performed a physical exam, reviewed your medical history, and excluded other possible diagnoses
- provides a detailed description of a typical migraine attack and all accompanying symptoms
- provides evidence of response to treatment and that migraine attacks persist
A certain amount of patience is required at this point. It can take 3 to 5 months, or even longer, for a decision to be made.
There are four levels of appeal:
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What To Know About The Ada & Migraines
Many people ask us, Are migraines considered a disability under the ADA? While the ADA has an impact on disability laws, the Social Security Administration actually compiles its own list of medical conditions that qualify for SSDI. The conditions on this list automatically qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, chronic headaches and migraines are not on that list.
This means that almost all initial Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income claims involving chronic headaches are denied. While your initial claim may be rejected, there is still hope. We are committed to helping people suffering from debilitating headaches get SSDI or SSI benefits.
Contact Our Experienced Ssdi And Ssi Chronic Headaches Lawyers In Des Plaines Il
If you are experiencing chronic headaches that prevent you from working, please contact the Chicago SSI and SSDI lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates, Ltd.
Our attorneys have years of experience winning benefits for clients who have invisible disabilities. Were the best chronic headache disability attorneys in Des Plaines and the surrounding areas.
Reach out today for a free case consultation.
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Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits With Migraines
The Migraine Research Foundation reports that around 18 percent of women and six percent of men in the United States suffer migraines. Ninety percent 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.
The frequency, duration, and severity of your migraines determine whether you qualify medically for benefits, but the Social Security Administration also has technical or financial eligibility rules. If youre able to satisfy all requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income , then you can count on having a steady source of income, even if your migraines stop you from working.
Longterm Disability For Migraines And Chronic Headaches
Living with chronic headaches can be unbearable. Trying to work and handle daily job responsibilities can become impossible. Our attorneys at Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates, Ltd. are the most experienced chronic headache disability lawyers in Des Plaines, IL, and the surrounding Chicagoland area.
We serve SSDI and SSI claimants locally and across the nation. We have effectively assisted many clients in pursuing successful Social Security Disability claims related to chronic headaches.
Please schedule a free initial consultation with one of our disability lawyers today. You may contact our firm online or you may reach us by phone.
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What Causes Chronic Migraine
Its not fully understood what causes chronic migraine.
For a lot of people chronic migraine develops gradually with migraine attacks becoming more frequent over time. Around 2.5 out of 100 people with episodic migraine will develop chronic migraine each year. For some people chronic migraine will go into remission within 2 years of becoming chronic.
The pattern of chronic migraine will vary depending on your individual circumstances. For some people it may return to episodic migraine, some people find it stays the same and others find that it gets worse.
There are a number of medical conditions that can increase your tendency to have migraine. These include:
Managing these can help with managing migraine and the effectiveness of migraine treatment.
How Do I Know If My Migraine Is A Disability
Occasional migraines cause a lot of inconvenience, but for those who experience regular severe migraines it is difficult to function on a daily basis.
When migraine is frequent and severe, it is classed as a disability under the Equality Act .
Your GP or a Headache Specialist should be able to help you understand if your migraine condition can be classed as a disability.
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Doing Your Own Research About Your Condition Puts You In The Drivers Seat
Becoming your own advocate can be very fulfilling. Not only do your learn how the system navigates, you also learn what pitfalls to avoid. This can be very empowering. 6
An absolute must, is to keep a detailed log or history as to physicians you have accessed, important dates, and any tests or procedures that were performed.
Cuddigan Law For Migraine Disability
If you suffer from primary headache disorder or any other qualifying disorder and can provide the necessary evidence to show that it prevents you from working, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. If your disability claim for migraines is denied, you may still qualify, and our Omaha disability benefits lawyers can help you file an appeal. Learn how we can assist you in our booklet, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim. Contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free today.
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Being Sick Indefinitely With No Cure
It means admitting that I cant go to graduate school or law school like Id once dreamed, because I cant realistically commit to such an intense level of work on a long-term basis. It means acknowledging that my career options are limited by my environment . It means admitting that I will be like this, sick, indefinitely.
This is what I am most reluctant to admit: the continuity of my disease.
There is no cure for migraine disease, at least not yet. And, though my migraines do get better, they also get worse. Some months, I may have only a couple per week. Other months, depending on the weather, Im bedridden nearly every night. My disease changes, but it is always present.
Exercise Or Physical Exertion
Many migraine sufferers note that their headache pain often begins after exercise or other physical exertion types, such as physical labor. One study found that 38% of people with migraines listed exercise as a trigger for their migraines, which often coexisted with neck pain.
However, other research has also suggested that regular exercise could reduce the severity of a headache disorder and its symptoms. This effect results from natural pain-reducing endorphins your body releases while you exercise, which may contribute to reduced headache pain and migraine attacks.
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Proving Your Migraines Are Disabling
There are no laboratory tests to prove a headache is a migraine or so severe that it’s disabling, and a physical examination probably won’t be able to uncover anything wrong with you. The SSA will need to rely on your statements about the severity of your migraines and your doctors’ reports documenting your symptoms. The SSA, however, does not have to believe your claims of how severe your migraines are. That’s why medical documentation is so important in migraine cases.
In order for SSA medical consultants to determine whether the severity and frequency of your migraines are sufficient to create a disability, they will want to see the following documentation.
- Reports by the doctor who primarily treats your condition, such as a neurologist, pain management specialist, or headache specialist
- Specific documentation of your daily symptoms and migraines, so as to measure the frequency of occurrence, duration, location, and intensity of your migraines as well as their effects on your daily living activities, and
- Documentation of medications taken and treatments tried, whether successful or unsuccessful, and any side effects you experienced from them.
What Can You Do If You Are Denied Benefits For Migraines
If your application for LTD benefits was denied, you have the right to appeal this denial. There is generally a very limited time in which to file this appeal, but it is important that you use this time to perfect your appeal and do not just write a letter to the insurance company explaining that you disagree. An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to address the insurance companys reasons for denying the claim and submit an appeal in a timely fashion.
If the appeal is denied, the final step may be to file a lawsuit. While this may seem like a big step to take, if you are suffering from chronic migraines, it is often necessary to ensure that you get the benefits that you deserve.
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