Is Migraine a Disability?

Migraine headaches can be quite sever, so much so that they can cause you to lose out on your work life for days on end. But is migraine a disability? What does the SSA say about migraines? Is it covered under ADA? How do I apply for disability if I have severe migraine? Read on.

Migraine headaches are quite different from regular headaches and can cause disability if not treated properly. Some people find it difficult to perform their jobs daily because of migraine-based disability. 

A study done by American Migraine Foundation shows that in almost 90 percent of people who have suffered from migraine, there is a negative impact on their ability to work.

If you cannot work properly because of a migraine, then there is a high chance that you will qualify for the disability benefits. In this article, we will discuss everything regarding this in detail. 

Is Migraine a Disability

Is it Possible to Apply for Disability in Case of Chronic Migraine?

The short and simple answer to your question is yes. You will be surprised to know that migraine is one of the most common reasons for disability.

While migraine is a neurological condition, and there is a listing for those, there is no direct listing for migraine in the blue book, but epilepsy (listing 11.02) is the most closely comparable listed impairment for primary headaches . 

Chronic migraine disability can be divided into two types, and they are – Short-term disability and long-term disability. In this section, we will discuss both these cases in detail. 

Short-term Disability

If you choose to go with a short-term disability, then you will get benefits that will only last for a few months. You can talk to your human resources manager in this regard.

Is Migraine a Disability

Long-term Disability

Check all the policy details in case you are opting for long-term disability. If your company has not offered you a policy, you can get one with the help of the Social Security Administration (SSA). You will not receive any benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but you will be approved for the following things.

  1. In case you are experiencing prolonged migraine attacks, it will last for at least a year. 
  2. You are becoming unable to perform your daily work.
  3. Unable to get accustomed to other forms of work.
  4. You have already worked for an extended period and have paid the required Social Security taxes. 

You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

How to Apply for Disability-Related Benefits?

If you feel that you will be qualified for SSDI, you should begin working on the whole thing. The application process is time-consuming due to the massive amount of documentation that needs to be approved by the authority. Let’s take a look at all the steps thoroughly. 

Is Migraine a Disability

Gather All Your Medical Records

When you start working on your application, you might feel startled because of the long lists of documents that need to be given to the SSA. You can avoid any delays by gathering all your medical records of yours alongside the evidence to make your case strong.

  1. Gather all the contact details of the primary care professionals and medical facilities you have visited for treatments.
  2. Keep all the test results and treatment history in one place.
  3. Know the names of all the medicines that the doctors have prescribed to you. 

SSDI will not agree if you say that your migraine is a disability if not even your doctor has given this in writing. So try to gather as many documents and information as possible, including your symptoms and your experience as a patient. 

Enlist your Working Details

You need to submit your work history. This document is required to check whether there are enough credits or not. As per the statistical data of 2022, a person can get 1 credit for an income of 1510 USD. 

A maximum of 4 credits can be earned in a whole year. SSA usually asks for 40 credits, and the final 20 credits must come in the last 10 years. This will cement the fact that you have a disability. Depending on your age, this rule can be adjusted. 

Moreover, you need also to provide your education history and mention places where you have been trained. You can also look at the SSA application checklist to know all the essential things. 

Is Migraine a Disability

Fill out the Application Form

You can fill out the application form online and offline mode. Either mail your application, or you can visit your nearest SSA office to fill out the application form physically. You need to have the necessary documents and information before you start filling out the application form. 

  1. An alternate contact number
  2. Names of your family members, specifically your spouse and children, and their birth dates.
  3. The date of your marriage and if you are divorced, you also need to mention the date of divorce. 
  4. Medical release certificate issued by SSA-827.
  5. Job worksheet and also the medical worksheet approved by SSA-3381
  6. Details of your bank account so that money can be directly deposited into your bank account.

In case of any other requirements, the SSA will contact you. Before approving your application, SSA will also conduct an in-person interview, or the interview can also be conducted via phone if your health is in bad condition. Keep on checking your application status from time to time. The confirmation will come via email. 

You might also like to read: Is Major Depression Considered A Disability?

How is Migraine Disability Eligibility Determined?

After applying, your application will not get accepted straight away. If you are working at present and have never taken leave for migraine, this will affect your case. You need to have a good work history. You need to convince the SSA. If you are wondering how to do that, then three primary factors determine eligibility in this case. 

  1. If your migraine is affecting your job, you are eventually unable to do your duties because of that.
  2. You cannot perform the works that a person of your age and sex with adequate education and skills can perform.
  3. The migraine and medical conditions related to that have already tormented you for at least one year, or as per your doctor’s assessment, it will last for a year and, in the worst-case scenario, result in the death of that person.

You need to remember that SSA will only consider your application if you have done your medical assessment from a well-known medical facility. So, what are the things that need to be mentioned in your medical history? All of them are discussed below. 

Is Migraine a Disability
  • A physical exam needs to be conducted alongside reviewing all previous medical history.
  • The report needs to mention an in-depth analysis of a typical migraine attack. Ensure that all the migraine symptoms are also mentioned there, including, headache, pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound or light etc. 
  • All the medicines you have taken need to be mentioned alongside your response to the treatment. 

The whole process usually takes 3 to 5 months. If something goes wrong, then it will take longer. So, you need to be patient. 

Are Migraines a Disability as Per American People With Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) does not let employers discriminate against people suffering from disabilities. According to ADA, disability is –

  • A mental or physical illness prevents a person from participating in daily activities. 
  • Medical record of the disease.
  • Other people should be aware of your condition.

As per the law, if your migraine is coming in your way of working, the company is bound to provide you with reasonable accommodations. You will be given a work environment free from noise, highly stressful conditions, and fluorescent lights, which can trigger your migraine. In the meantime, you need to consult medical personnel to deal with the migraine. 

Is Migraine a Disability

Short Term Disability Seen in Migraines

It solely depends on the employer, whereas many employers agree to provide short-term disability as included in the health insurance package offered by the company. Under the package, you will get entire living expenses and the treatment cost, and in the meantime, you have to work on a part-time basis.

You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For A Blood Disorder?

Can VA Disability Benefits Be Applicable for Disabilities From Migraine?

Any person suffering from migraine can get Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits. To get the benefit, you need to take help from a healthcare professional who will fill the Disability Benefits Questionnaire on your behalf with all the necessary information regarding your migraine attack.

Is Migraine a Disability

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a doctor’s note for migraine?

Yes, migraine sufferers can get a doctor’s sick note . A migraine attack usually lasts from 4 hours to 3 days. If you are suffering for less than 7 days, then there is no need to submit a doctor’s note, and migraines usually don’t last this much. 

Can migraines cause damage to the brain?

You might worry that your brain will get damaged if you suffer from migraines. But there is no chance of brain damage in patients suffering from migraine. 

Do migraines worsen with age?

As you grow up, there is a high chance that your migraine will get worse. Women are more likely to be  migraine sufferers getting worse with age due to the changes in estrogen levels. With increasing age, the number of days you suffer from migraine will start increasing.  

Do migraines qualify for FMLA?

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides support in continuous treatment to patients suffering from injuries, illness, or any impairment, both mental and physical, as migraine requires ongoing treatment. That is why FMLA covers it.

Is migraine a disability under the equality act?

The Equality Act was passed in 2010. Under certain circumstances, a migraine is considered a disability. This solely depends on the severity of the condition. 

What are the types of headache disorders?

There are three main types: Medication-overuse headache, tension-type headache and Migraine headaches

Final Words

Yes, migraine is a disability, and you will be able to apply for the benefits offered to a disabled person. All you need to have is an adequate amount of work credits and enough evidence that you cannot work anymore. Make a strong case for yourself, and you can easily prove your disability is caused by migraine. 

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we have covered all the aspects needed to make a strong case for your disability appeal for migraine. Do let us know if you need more help.