What If My Migraines Interfere With My Ability To Work
Because 50 percent is the highest rating for migraines, it indicates that the VA may not feel migraines completely interfere with someones ability to maintain employment. However, if you feel youre unemployable because of your condition, and your headaches debilitate you to the extent that you cannot sustain normal regular employment, you may be eligible for Individual Unemployability . IU is part of a disability compensation program through the VA that will award 100 percent compensation to a veteran, even if his service-connected disability was not rated at 100 percent. The criteria for IU include the following:
- Due to his service-connected disability, the veteran is unable to sustain substantially gainful employment. The VA does not consider minimal or minor jobs such as odd jobs under that term.
- The veteran must have a service-connected disability that was rated at 60 percent or higher.
- The veteran must have two or more service-connected disabilities, and at least one of them was rated at 40 percent or higher. Their combined rating must be 70 percent or higher.
Can You Get 50% Disability While Still Working
With disability ratings, the exact word choice is very important. However, the word choice surrounding the 50% disability for headaches is one that confuses many people.
The first requirement of the 50% rating concerns frequent completely prostrating attacks, which is pretty straightforward. But the second part mentions prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.
That second part has caused many applicants to ask if they can still get a 50% rating while working a job. And technically, the answer is yes: the VAs own Migraine Diagnostic Code 8100 does not specify you must be out of work to get the 50% rating.
So, what does of severe economic inadaptability actually mean? It can mean that someone is unable to work. However, it can also mean that these headaches might eventually hurt your ability to work.
You may still have your job, including a supportive boss and coworkers. But if your headaches are bad enough to potentially jeopardize your employment, you can potentially get the 50% rating.
Getting Iu And Social Security Disability
It is possible to get both IU and social security disability at the same time. In fact, there are many veterans are doing this because they get the disabilities during their service and that is the same as ones they used for their Social Security. If you have a plan to get both, it means you should prove your claims in these forums.
At the point you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you should let the VA specialist review your rating and the important records. After that, they will decide your employability. In fact, even though you are 100% disabled based on Social Security, it is possible for the VA not to issue the IU rating. It is helpful if Social Security disabilities are the same as your disabilities based on your service. If you have a 100% disability rating from VA specialist, you can start filing your social security disability application.
Don’t Miss: Va Disability Direct Deposit Change
The Significance Of The Term Prostrating When Rating Migraines
In general, the term prostrating means that a person experiences extreme weakness due to his migraines and must lie down for a long period of time. The VA uses this word to characterize how severe the headache needs to be. Some claims for migraine disability have used the phrase extreme exhaustion or powerlessness. Basically, the VA will grant a 50 percent rating if you are incapacitated enough that your headaches disrupt your work, making you unemployable.
A VA ratings specialist examines your disability claim looking for evidence that your migraine is prostratingthat it forces you to stop what youre doing and get medical attention. In the past, the VA required documentation that you left work and went to the emergency room. However, the obvious issue was that your doctor likely gave you a prescription for your migraines, and you would go home to take the medicine rather than visit the ER every time you suffered one.
Although documented trips to the ER are helpful in your case, the Army Physical Disability Agency acknowledged that migraines were not treated in this manner. Thus, they established an exception to the necessary criteria for proving a prostrating migraine. It is no longer necessary for a veteran to visit the ER, as long as these conditions are met:
Chapter : List Of Va Secondary Conditions Due To Migraines
Headaches are often granted secondary service connection becausethe disability is shown to be proximately due to, theresult of, or aggravated by another service-connected disability.
The frequency and severity of Headache Conditions typicallyincreases with the severity of other service-connected disabilities.
For example, veterans with more severe PTSD symptoms are likelyto have more severe Migraine Headache symptoms, suggesting a correlation betweenthe two.
There are many possible links for veterans to establish secondaryservice connection for Migraines, including, but not limited to:
Migraines secondary to Tinnitus
Research suggests that there is a connection between Headaches and Tinnitus and the symptoms go hand in hand with many types of headaches, including migraines and hypertension. Recent results show 27% of Tinnitus sufferers also suffer from headaches. Thus, there is a clear medical etiology to suggest that Migraines and many types of Headaches can be proximately due to or aggravated by Tinnitus, aka, ringing in the ear syndrome.
Migraines secondary to TBI
There are several research studies linking Traumatic Brain Injury to Migraines as well as post traumatic headaches. A 2012 study of soldiers returning from combat found that chronic daily headache was considerably more common than might be expected. For example, one study concluded that 29% of soldiers who deployed and suffered from mild TBI also had Migraines.
Migraines secondary to TMJ
Recommended Reading: How To Increase Your Va Disability Rating
Va Migraines Rating 38 Cfr Criteria
Migraine headaches are evaluated and rated under 38 CFR § 4.124a, Miscellaneous Diseases, Diagnostic Code 8100.
Accordingly, the DC 8100 Migraines VA Rating Criteria is as follows:
- 50 percent VA rating for migraines is warranted with very frequent, completely prostrating, and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.
- 30 percent VA migraines rating is warranted with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month, over the preceding several months.
- 10 percent VA disability rating for migraines is warranted with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging once per two months, over the preceding several months.
- 0 percent migraines VA rating is warranted with less frequent attacks than the 10 percent rating criteria.
The Rating System From Va Specialists
Here are the following criteria that VA specialists used to determine the level of your migraine and to provide the rate:
50% This rating means very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability
10% This rating means characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in two months over last several months
0% This rating means less frequent attacks
Recommended Reading: Can You Work If You Are 100 Percent Va Disabled
Va Rating Criteria For Migraine Headaches
VA rates migraine headaches under 38 CFR § 4.124a, Schedule of Ratings Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Diagnostic Code 8100. The diagnostic code includes disability ratings from 0 to 50 percent disabling, with criteria based on the severity and frequency of the migraines:
- 50% with very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability
- 30% with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average of once a month over the last several months
- 10% with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in two months over the last several months
- 0% with less frequent attacks
Generally speaking, the term prostrating means that the veterans migraine headaches are so severe and debilitating that he or she is required to lay down for an extended period of time due to complete exhaustion and physical weakness. Typically, prostrating migraines also require veterans to stop all activity and possibly take medication or seek medical attention.
Percent Va Rating For Migraines Criteria
At the 30% VA rating for Migraines, the law lists headaches with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months.
Note the keyword of prostrating, meaning youve had to lay down or been reduced to extreme physical weakness.
You can also see that the 30% rating has prostrating attacks that occur roughly one time per month over the past several months.
There is NO mention of any functional or economic lossthis is very important to understand!
Thus, if your migraine headaches do NOT affect your ability to work, you probably dont meet the 50% rating criteria.
Don’t Miss: Filing For Disability In Georgia
Va Service Connection For Migraines
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, roughly 39 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines. Deployed veterans experience this disability at a higher rate due to the nature of military service. Disproportionate exposure to intense visual/auditory stimuli, traumatic events, and prolonged stress can take its toll. Injuries caused by explosions, falls, combat, or concussion can all contribute to migraine development.
Because of the overlap between military service and the causes for a migraine, the VA recognizes migraines as a service-connected disability. This means that as long as a veteran can prove their migraines began in service, the condition will be assumed to be service-connected unlike some other disabilities which might require further testing or documentation. Migraines can also be recognized as a secondary condition that developed as a result of a primary service-connected condition.
Similar to other VA disability claims, to prove service-connection a veteran must provide three pieces of evidence:
- A current diagnosis from a medical professional
- Documentation of an event or period that led to the condition
- A medical nexus that links the diagnosis to the event or period in question this is typically a medical professionals opinion
How To Strengthen Your Claim For Migraine Headaches
In addition to having proper medical evidence regarding their migraine headaches, every veteran will be well served by keeping a detailed migraine headache log documenting the occurrence of each migraine headache attack as well as its severity, length, and associated symptoms. Such a headache log can be kept in any number of ways: as handwritten notes on a kitchen calendar, Excel spreadsheet entries, or even a running log on a smartphone notetaking application. In our experience, keeping a detailed headache diary for the VA to review lends an additional layer of credibility on top of any sworn statements provided by the veteran or his or her family members.
Lastly, veterans need to be honest and forthright about their symptoms when speaking with the VAs C& P examining physician. Even if you feel rushed by the doctor or have difficulty opening up about the severity of your headaches with people whom you are unfamiliar, it is important that you quickly and accurately describe the frequency and severity of your migraine headache attacks in a way that the doctor can comprehend even if he or she is only half listening or filling out the DBQ while you talk. Though veterans should never exaggerate their symptoms, veterans need to do what they can to speak accurately and clearly during C& P examinations to make sure the doctor comprehends how severe their migraine headaches are and the limitations such headaches have caused.
Read Also: How Much Disability Will I Get In California
Chapter : How To Get 50 Va Disability For Migraines
There is a significant different between the 30% rating forMigraines and the 50% rating for Migraines.
For example, look at this real denial letter from a VARater, for a veteran who was already ready at 30% for migraines, but was seekingan increase to 50% for migraines:
Although the medical evidence shows that the frequencyof the headaches has increased, there is no objective medical evidence showingthat these headaches are at all prostrating in nature which would affecteconomic inadaptability. However, based on the totality of the evidence whichincludes the veterans subjective statements, and resolving all reasonabledoubt in his favor, we feel that the 30% rating threshold has been metjustifying an increase at this time. A higher evaluation is not warrantedunless the objective medical evidence shows very frequent, completelyprostrating, and prolonged attacks productive of severe economicinadaptability.
Medical Evidence Requirements for Migraines
The denial states the medical evidence did NOT showprostrating headaches or economic loss.
If you think you deserve a higher VA rating for Migraines,you need to have medical evidence that discusses the severity of yourheadaches, whether they are prostrating in nature, and if these headachesaffect your work.
The best way to do this is to get a DBQ for Migraines completed from a qualified medical professional.
Sometimes, a VA Rater will accept a Migraines DBQ on its own and grant the rating increase without a C& P exam.
Special Rules For 50% Migraine Va Ratings
If you are a veteran who suffers from service-connected migraine headaches, you need to make sure VA pays you benefits at the proper rating. In previous articles, I have discussed the four different ratings of 0%, 10%, 30% and 50%. I hope you find those articles helpful in making sure VA rates your migraine headaches properly.
As those articles discusses, a 50% rating is the highest that VA will assign for migraine headaches. But, migraine headaches that qualify for that rating often cause other issues, especially with maintaining a job.
In this article, I will focus on two issues that come up specifically with 50% migraine headache ratings:
You May Like: Can You Get Disability For Degenerative Disc Disease
What If I Have More Questions About My Va Claim
I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal to win your VA disability compensation claim.
You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
Tell Your Doctor How Often Your Migraines Are Prostrating
Its not only important to let your doctor know the frequency of your migraines, but also how often they are prostrating. The more detail you can provide about this, the better your chances are of receiving benefits. If your medical records indicate that you have a couple migraines a month, that doesnt give the VA ratings specialist enough information to make a determination in your favor. But if your doctor documents that you had to lie down in a quiet, dark room for an extended period of timeperhaps for dayshe provides evidence that your migraines were prostrating. And because a VA ratings specialist will rely more on what is in your medical records than what you tell the VA administration, these details are very important.
If youre a veteran suffering from prostrating migraines due to an incident or event during your military service, you may be eligible for VA Benefits. Contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your case.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Calculate My Reserve Retirement Pay
How To Get 50% Va Disability For Migraines
The highest schedular rating with the VA for migraine headaches is 50 percent. In order to receive this rating, a veteran must suffer from prostrating and prolonged attacks which occur frequently.
Generally, prostrating means that an individuals migraine is so severe that he or she is unable to stand or sit when suffering from a migraine. In other words, a prostrating migraine makes you go lay down or get into a position where you can try to sleep or try not to move. Prostrating attacks often stop a veteran from what he or she is doing to either seek medical attention or seek medication. If the migraines are not prostrating, the veteran will only receive a 0 percent rating. If you have to lay down in a dark room when your migraines come, you are having prostrating attacks and you need to tell your doctor how often that happens to you.
Additionally, when considering the frequency of your migraines, the VA will likely require that your migraines occur on average more than once a month. If your attacks occur less frequently, you will likely receive a lower rating.
What Causes Migraines In The Military
Many factors can trigger migraine attacks, such as alteration of sleep-wake cycle missing or delaying a meal medications that cause a swelling of the blood vessels daily or near daily use of medications designed for relieving Stress and/or underlying depression are important trigger factors that can be diagnosed and …
Recommended Reading: What Is Considered Low Income In South Carolina
How Does The Va Rate Migraines
Veterans suffering from migraines may be experiencing this ailment due to an in-service incident. In this case, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation for your migraines. By proving service connection and gathering enough medical evidence, former service members can take steps to obtain veterans benefits.
In spite of its acutely disabling effects, migraines take up a very small section in the VA diagnostic code for ratings and have a maximum schedular rating of 50%. VA ratings for migraines are principally rated according to the frequency of the migraine attacks.
Here are the ratings according to the Department of Veterans Affairs:
- 0% With less frequent attacks
- 10% With characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over the last several months
- 30% With characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over the last several months
- 50% With very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability
The VA uses diagnostic code 8100 to rate headaches, including migraine headaches. While the rating code itself is vague, the VAs internal adjudication manual, the M21-1, provides clarification for these terms for the decision-makers:
Prostrating: causing extreme exhaustion, powerlessness, debilitation or incapacitation with substantial inability to engage in ordinary activities.