By Rachel Gaffney
Outreach Specialist

If you experience chronic migraine that makes it difficult or impossible for you to work you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. You will need to provide medical documentation of your illness in order for your claim to be approved. This medical documentation will help support that you are unable to work for at least 12 months, which is a requirement for applying for disability.

Medically Qualifying For Disability Benefits With Migraine

A migraine attack can incapacitate someone for days. The light and sound sensitivity, as well as the physical toll that migraine disease takes on the body, can mean that the person needs days of recovery time. But in order to be approved for disability benefits due to migraine disease, there needs to be an underlying medical condition or a person needs to ask for a Medical Vocational Allowance.

All of the conditions that qualify for Social Security disability benefits are listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, and there is no official listing for migraine disease. However, migraine can be symptoms of other health problems that are listed in the Blue Book. If you experience migraine due to any of these conditions you can be approved for disability benefits based on Blue Book listing for these conditions:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Fibromyalgia
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Heart Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy

You will need to provide medical documentation like a diagnosis, treatment plans, test results, medical bills, and other documents to prove that you cannot work because of your medical condition. It’s best to review the Blue Book with your doctor to make sure you qualify. Your doctor can help you understand how you can medically qualify as well as help make sure you have enough medical evidence and documents to support your claim.

Medical Vocation Allowance And Residual Functional Capacity

If you live with migraine or headache that isn’t the result of another medical condition but still is severe enough that you can’t work, you can qualify for disability benefits with a Medical Vocational Allowance. In order to get a medical vocational allowance, you need to file a claim for disability benefits and ask for a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation.

The RFC evaluation is done by the SSA to see if there is any kind of work that you can do while you living with migraine disease. The evaluation must only consider jobs that you can do with the training and/or skills that you have. If there is no full-time work that you can reasonably do with the skills and experience you have and while suffering from migraine then you may qualify for disability benefits. You can download an RFC form to have a doctor fill out on your behalf.

Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits

You can file a claim for disability benefits online on the SSA’s website. If you are asking for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation the best way to apply for benefits is to make an appointment with your local SSA office. A staff member there can guide you through the application process and makes sure that your request for an RFC evaluation is submitted correctly.

If You Are Denied

Most claims are denied initially; so do not panic if this happens to you. When a decision is made on your claim, you’ll receive a letter in the mail. If you are denied, there will be instructions on how to appeal the decision as well as information on why your claim was denied. Using this guide, you can reapply and include any information that was forgotten the first time.

Helpful Links:

Heads UP – Episode 80: Disability Benefits and Headache Disorders