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Why are migraines potentially debilitating?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Social Security Disability (SSD)

Migraines are far more than just headaches; they serve as manifestations of a complex neurological condition that can affect every aspect of an individual’s life, potentially becoming debilitating. Sufferers may experience intense, throbbing pain, bilaterally, on one side of the head or in an “all over” way. Sufferers also may experience light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

These symptoms can be so severe that they incapacitate a sufferer, making it impossible to perform routine tasks, let alone maintain employment. Understanding the debilitating nature of migraines helps to explain why some sufferers may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Migraines are distinct kinds of headaches

Migraines can last for hours or even days, leaving individuals in excruciating pain and unable to function normally. The unpredictable onset of symptoms can disrupt work, social activities and daily responsibilities. For some, the frequency of these attacks may increase over time, leading to chronic migraine conditions.

Qualifying for SSD benefits due to migraines can be challenging but not impossible. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a specific listing for migraines in its Blue Book of impairments that automatically qualify for disability benefits. However, individuals can still qualify for SSD benefits under certain conditions. They must provide comprehensive medical evidence that demonstrates how their migraines significantly impair their ability to perform basic work activities and that the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months.

Documentation should include a detailed medical history of migraine attacks, treatments attempted and their outcomes. A headache diary, recording the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines, can also support one’s case. Understanding the complexity of migraines and their impacts is the first step in advocating for any support and recognition needed from the SSD program.