Can You Receive Social Security Disability Benefits for Migraines?

Can You Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Migraines?

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are awarded to individuals who suffer from a chronic condition that lasts more than a year and prohibits them from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines what conditions quality for benefits and which do not, and these can be found in the SSA’s Blue Book.

Migraines themselves are not considered a disability in the Blue Book, but if a migraine sufferer matches an “equal” listing to show that their symptoms are as severe as another condition, they could be granted Social Security Disability benefits. Some medical research has found that migraines may have a place of the seizure spectrum, and it’s also possible that someone with migraines may have an equal listing to epilepsy. For this, migraines must happen at least twice a week even with treatment and cause mental functioning impairment for several hours.

It’s also helpful if both you and your doctor keep a migraine journal detailing:

  • Date of migraine
  • Pain intensity
  • Length of migraine
  • Any prodromes
  • Possible triggers
  • Medication taken, and at what dosage
  • Relief level

The SSA will also look at your medical records to see:

  • Doctors notes on how often you have migraines and the severity of them
  • Test results to rule out other conditions
  • List of medications and treatments tried and the results
  • ER visit and hospitalization records related to migraines


There are a variety of types of headaches that people may suffer from, but one of the most excruciating is a migraine. This type of headache can result in throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head, and they are often accompanied by intense light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. Migraines can last from several hours to a few days, and many people who experience them must find a cool, dark place to lie down in until it passes.

Some people may also experience warning symptoms—called a prodrome—such as arm or leg tingles, flashes of light or blind spots.

Medications, lifestyle changes, and other therapies have been helpful in relieving the intensity and frequency of migraines in chronic sufferers. Many people who suffer from severe headaches want to know if they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits for migraines.

There are a number of migraine triggers that include:

  • Foods like aged cheese and processed goods
  • Skipping meals
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food additives like aspartame
  • Stress
  • Over-stimulated senses
  • Environmental changes (including weather)
  • Medication side effects
  • Sleep-wake pattern changes

An Advocate Can Help
Because it can be very challenging to receive Social Security Disability benefits for migraines, it’s best to hire a lawyer who specializes in cases such as these. A Social Security attorney understand what the SSA requires and will be looking for in order to make their determination.

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