It’s not just a headache. No matter how many times you hear someone dismiss your migraines as just a bad headache, you may never get over your frustration. Well-meaning friends may offer suggestions for home remedies, and your doctor may even fail to understand how incapacitating your migraines can be. In fact, you may already be to the point where your chronic migraines prevent you from holding any gainful employment.
Seeking disability benefits through the Social Security Administration seems like a logical step to take if you are unable to work because of your migraine attacks. However, this may not be as easy as it seems. The SSA does not include migraines among the approved conditions for disability payments. Nevertheless, this does not mean you will not qualify. Your symptoms may be enough to win the approval of the SSA.
How migraines affect you
When you feel a migraine coming on, you probably know not to make any plans for the next few days. A migraine may mean you are lying perfectly still in a dark room for hours or days. Light and sound sensitivity may make it impossible to listen to a normal conversation, watch TV or check your messages on your phone without feeling pain and nausea. When the attack passes, you may spend even more time feeling drained or ill.
If you experience these attacks regularly, it is not likely you can function at work. However, as part of your disability application process, agents at the SSA will probably ask you to submit to a residual functional capacity evaluation to determine if you have the ability to perform any type of gainful employment, even if it isn’t the kind of work you normally do.
Your chances of approval
Chronic migraines may be a standalone condition, or they may be related to other health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety and numerous other SSA-approved conditions. The key to improving your chances of approval for benefits is to provide the SSA with thorough documentation of your condition, how it affects your daily routine and how it prevents you from meeting the demands of a job. Your doctor’s report can also go a long way toward convincing the SSA to approve your request for benefits.
Like many who suffer from chronic, debilitating migraines, you may find it difficult to obtain approval for disability the first time you apply. A West Virginia attorney with experience in disability claims and appeals can be a strong advocate in this situation.