Migraines are some of the most painful and debilitating forms of chronic pain. The neurological discomfort can alter not only your ability to perform normal tasks due to pain, but they also impair your perception and make you extremely susceptible to light and sound. Working with these chronic migraines can be almost impossible, forcing you to take breaks throughout the day as well as several days off each month. This leaves many people asking: Can I qualify for Social Security Disability under circumstances like these?
In short, the answer is yes, but it’s complicated. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD), you need to have a well-documented history of migraines that interfere so much with your daily life that you can’t work or function normally. While this may be easy for you to illustrate with stories of your daily life, it’s harder for a doctor to definitively track and prove how severe your headaches are.
What You Need to Qualify for SSD with Chronic Migraines
How to qualify for SSD with chronic migraines is a typical question people often ask. While there isn’t a listing in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book that details the requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify for SSD benefits, it is still possible. They simply compare your condition to one of a similar nature and ensure that your limitations are equal to or worse than the ones listed for that disability. As is true with most disabilities, you’ll need to have extensive medical history documenting the frequency and intensity of your headaches.
Symptoms of serious chronic migraines include nausea, vomiting and perceptual disturbances that make light and sound unbearable. While it’s difficult for a doctor to gauge and pinpoint the cause of serious migraines, they can be so debilitating that getting out bed is impossible, much less working. There are a few things, in particular, you’ll need to demonstrate an inability to perform:
- Lifting items
- Working with others
You will also need to demonstrate that you’ve received regular, continuous treatment for these chronic migraines to no avail. Your medical records should indicate that you’ve received imaging tests such as MRIs or CAT scans to eliminate underlying causes as well as several attempts at medications that would keep the pain at bay. If you’ve tried everything with no luck, it’s more likely that the SSA will deem your chronic migraines too severe for normal work.
The Definition of ‘Able to Work’ with Chronic Migraines
Unfortunately, the inability to do your old job doesn’t mean that you’ll qualify for benefits. The SSA is looking through a much wider lens – they want to see that you’re unable to perform any work you qualify for or any work you might be able to learn in the future. That being said, it’s difficult to qualify for chronic migraine benefits unless yours limit you to lie down in your room multiple days each week. They’ll comb through your work history from the past 15 years as well as any medical records they can access to determine these things.
You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance
There are several ways you can approach the application process. You may fill one out online or in your local Social Security office, and the disability examiner that handles your case will collect your medical records. This can be a time-intensive process, however, and they don’t always gather all of the information that’s out there. You can expedite the process by sending in your medical records yourself, or you can speak with one of our experienced Social Security Disability advocates or attorney to help you get your case started. The attorney will help you collect all the information you need for your application. The entire approval process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, so the sooner you can provide the appropriate evidence of your disability, the faster you’ll start receiving benefits.