What They’re Looking For
While it is possible to be approved for disability based on a chronic migraine diagnosis, the SSA doesn’t set forth specific guidelines that need to be met in order to qualify. This produces a unique challenge for migraine sufferers. To be considered for approval, you must prove that your migraines impact your level of functioning to the point that you are unable to complete normal work tasks on a regular basis.
In order to be deemed as unable to work, you must experience significant difficulties in areas like concentration, understanding instructions, lifting, walking, standing, and dealing with people. In addition, the SSA will take into consideration the frequency of your migraines and how often you have previously missed work due to your migraine condition. If you have previous injuries or other conditions that may further limit your ability to work, the SSA will also take those into consideration when determining your eligibility.
SSA will also consider your age, level of education, and past employment experience in addition to other limitations caused by your migraines to determine if there is another kind of job you could do successfully before making a disability determination. Generally, if you have little education, history of generalized work, and are over the age of 50, you have a better chance of being approved.
Attempts at Treatment
Before being considered for disability benefits, SSA will want to know that you’ve exercised all possible forms of medication and other treatments possible to manage your migraine condition.
Treatments such as pain medication, anti-depressants, preventatives, and anti-nausea medications are all forms of treatment to include in your list to SSA. Additional forms of treatment, including alternative treatments like acupuncture and massage, should also be outlined.
Where Do I Apply?
If you meet the majority of the criteria outlined above, there’s a good chance you can receive approval for disability benefits through SSA. Be as thorough and honest as possible when providing information, and be prepared for a claims examiner to call you for a phone interview or ask your doctor to fill out a questionnaire if they feel it is necessary.
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits by visiting your local Social Security office, calling the SSA at (800) 772-1213, or visiting their website (www.ssa.gov). Upon submission of your application, your claim will be provided to your state’s Disability Determination Services, where a claims examiner will critically review your file, investigate your case, and finally, make the determination on whether to approve or deny your claim.