Topic Categories:

Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSDRC authored by

Ask a question, get an answer

Facts about Migraine and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1) Migraine is a type of severe headache that lasts anywhere from four hours to 3 days and is oftentimes accompanied by painful throbbing on one side of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, sweating, fatigue, chills, nausea, and vomiting.

2) Although not present in all migraine patients, some people experience warning symptoms before migraine called ‘aura’. These symptoms include altered body perceptions such as unusual visual perceptions, strange smells, or other odd sensory perceptions. Aura usually appears an hour or so before the headache stage. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of migraine sufferers experience aura.

3) It is thought that nearly 11 out of every 100 American experience migraine. While migraine is more prevalent in women than men, women report having less migraines while pregnant.

4) It is thought that the cause of migraine is abnormal brain activity brought on by environmental ‘triggers’. There are many known ‘triggers’ for migraine, or things that seem to cause a migraine attack for certain patients. Some known triggers are: bright lights, stress, smoking, alcohol, loud noises, skipping meals, offensive or strong odors, birth control pills, certain foods, and tension headaches.

5) It is thought that foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate) can trigger migraine, as well as foods containing nitrates or tyramine. Many doctors recommend patients keep a food diary to determine if certain foods are triggering migraines so they may be omitted from the patients diet.

6) There is no cure for migraine, though different medications can be used to combat individual symptoms. Over-the-counter pain medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may be used as a first defense, although narcotic pain relievers may be more effective for more severe migraine. Sedatives and anti-nausea medications are also frequently prescribed.

7) Many studies have also found that weather changes such as changes in barometric pressure, high humidity, and other significant changes in temperature and weather were triggers for migraine.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews