Migraines are no joke. Anyone who’s ever had one understands the debilitating nature of the “unseen” pain that is often dismissed as “just a headache.” Migraines can severely lower your quality of life and stop you from carrying out day-to-day activities. Making it through the workday with the burden of a migraine is no easy feat.
The impact of migraines on absenteeism and lost productivity is staggering. The U.S. workforce loses more than $13 billion in productivity per year due to migraines, and more than 157 million workdays. If you are unable to work because of chronic migraines, you may consider applying for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI).
Know your rights
Because migraines can be classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of a disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book lists conditions that qualify for disability benefits but does not have an official listing for migraines. Regardless, if you experience chronic migraines that make it difficult or impossible to work, it is possible to still pursue disability benefits.
How to prove the severity of your migraines
To win a disability claim, you must be able to prove that you are unable to work full-time for an extended period. To make this determination, a disability examiner will need to review:
- Medical records from neurologists, pain management specialists or other treating physicians
- Records from hospitals or clinics you visited for check-ups
- Medication and treatments your doctors have prescribed, their effectiveness and side effects
- Statements from doctors about the severity of your migraines, prognosis and impairments
- Record of the location, frequency, duration and intensity of your migraines and how they affect daily activities
Don’t hesitate to include any other records that you feel will support your claim. A comprehensive collection of documents will help you avoid having deficiencies in your file and improve your chances of winning your disability benefits.
The rules for determining disability are complicated. Working with an attorney who has experience navigating the Social Security disability application process may improve your chances of being approved.