People living with severe migraine face many challenges. It’s not just the debilitating pain that can make it hard to function in daily life. Often, there’s a lack of understanding among those who do not have migraines. It can be impossible to explain how a migraine feels and why it is such a barrier to physical wellbeing.
If you do suffer from migraines, there may be help available. In addition to what you may receive from your doctor, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. This offers financial support when your illness stops you from doing the work you would otherwise want to do.
What’s Different About Severe Migraines?
A common headache goes away. Even those who have the occasional migraine can navigate the condition by making lifestyle changes, such as taking a few days off of work. But for those with severe migraine, this just is not an option. Frequently, a severe migraine does not respond to medication. Many people suffer daily attacks, or have migraine episodes that last for days at time.
As even those who do not experience migraines can imagine, this can make a normal working life almost impossible. For those with migraines, the financial and social cost is very real. Some can manage, while others should not hesitate to ask for help.
Do Migraine Sufferers Qualify for SSD?
The federal government supports those with various medical conditions through the social security disability program. These are separate from the disability benefits you may get through your state administration or your employer. In fact, your workplace may require you to apply for SSD before you can access private benefits.
Seeking SSD benefits helps in other ways. You may gain access to Medicare, which can help with your medical bills. Having SSD approval can also mean a larger entitlement of social security income when you retire. But most of all, SSD benefits can give you a level of comfort when you are living day-to-day with a challenging illness.
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of conditions that automatically qualify for SSD. This is called the “blue book.” Although “migraine” is not specifically listed, those living with the ailment may still qualify for benefits. The process is just a bit different. Applicants have to demonstrate that they are limited in their ability to carry on meaningful employment because of their health status.
Today, we’re going over everything you need to bring to Social Security to make sure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. In general, judges are looking for consistency and continued evidence of harm. To learn more, check out this video.
Migraine headache cases pose significant challenges compared to cases involving physical injuries, such as back injuries. The primary reason for this challenge is the subjective nature of measuring the severity of migraine headaches.
In many migraine headache cases I’ve handled, there are no brain imaging studies that definitively show an individual will suffer from severe migraine headaches. Typically, there are no imaging studies that reveal clinical findings indicating the occurrence of migraine headaches, let alone the severity of such headaches. As a result, much of the discussion at Social Security hearings is considered subjective, making it difficult for judges to rely on such information.
Due to the scarcity of imaging studies for migraine headaches, judges typically look for consistency in medical providers’ notes. For instance, if you’re experiencing migraine headaches and consulting a neurologist, they should prescribe medication supportive of severe migraine headaches, including abortive and preventative medications. Additionally, many individuals undergo Botox injections to alleviate migraine severity.
Other crucial aspects documented in migraine headache cases include photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound), as well as triggers like specific smells or exposure to cleaning chemicals. These triggers should also be documented by your healthcare providers, along with the duration and frequency of headaches.
For example, if you experience migraines every other day for three hours, this frequency needs documentation, as it supports the argument that you may be unable to work or remain focused. Judges often rely on doctors’ notes to assess the severity of migraine headache cases. Factors such as the frequency of doctor visits, consistency in attendance, the specialty of the doctor, and their willingness to provide supporting documentation, such as letters or forms, significantly impact the likelihood of success in your case.
If your loved one requires assistance with their Social Security case, please feel free to reach out to us at 847-577-4476 or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
What Are Your Options If You’re Denied SSD Benefits?
It is unfortunate that many legitimate migraine sufferers are turned down for SSD when they first apply. In many ways, it is also understandable. Applicants have to provide proof of their medical status, which can mean doctor’s reports and detailed accounts of how having migraines affect their daily life. In other words, it’s a lot of paperwork to gather when your life is already on hold.
Fortunately, a disability benefits lawyer can work with you to get through the SSD process. This is essential at all stages, whether it’s your first application or an appeal. You can ask the SSA to take a second look at your case if you are denied.
Who Can Help Me with my SSD Case?
When you are already living with a debilitating illness, fighting the SSA for benefits can be too much to bear. The lawyers at The Good Law Group focus exclusively on helping people like you. To learn more about applying for benefits or appealing an SSD case denial, contact us today.