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The Challenge of Collecting SSDI for Migraines


Sometimes, disabilities are obvious and therefore, quite easy to prove. Someone confined to a wheelchair obviously can’t perform many types of work. As such, there is a good chance that the Social Security Administration will approve their application for disability benefits after reviewing their medical records. Other types of disabilities though, are more difficult to prove.

Migraines are one of these, and that’s a problem for the 39 million Americans that suffer from them. Proving an “invisible” disability such as migraines is a much more difficult task than proving one that is in plain sight. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

What is a Migraine?

Many people think of migraines as a bad headache, but they are much more serious than that. Migraines cause an intense throbbing or pulsing pain in the head, typically on only one side. The pain is so bad it can cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

In the days before an attack, a person may experience other symptoms, such as constipation. Just before the attack, a person may experience auras. These can appear as flashing lights, blind spots in vision, or even tingling in the face or arm. Once the attack starts, it can last for several hours, several days, or even longer. The pain is usually debilitating, and can keep a person from working and performing even the simplest tasks.

Migraines and Being Unable to Work

When a person suffers from migraines regularly, it limits their ability to work and they may want to apply for Social Security disability benefits. In order to receive those benefits, they will have to prove that their migraines prevent them from being able to work. Unfortunately, the SSA doesn’t outline specific guidelines for this.

The SSA will take a number of factors into consideration in a case that involves migraines. They will consider how often a person gets migraines, how much work they miss due to their migraines, and if there are any other conditions that could prevent the applicant from working.

The SSA will also evaluate the applicant’s ability to perform any type of work. If the applicant can’t perform their old job but could perform another type of work, the SSA will deny the disability claim.

Medical Evidence in Migraine Claims

Under 20 C.F.R. 404.1521, in order to obtain SSDI, a person must bring forward objective medical evidence of their condition. This means that while the SSA will consider an applicant’s own reports of their symptoms, they will still need medical evidence.

Medical records are a large part of this evidence, so it’s important applicants fully explain their condition to their doctor. They should report how often they have migraines, how the migraines affect them, and any medication they take for them. This can all be used as evidence in a disability claim.

There are also many possible medications that can treat migraines. Often, a migraine sufferer must try several before finding one that works for them. It’s important those with migraines exhaust as many forms of treatment as they can before applying for SSDI. This can help a claim, as the SSA will determine a person has done everything they can to treat their migraine so they can get back to work yet, the migraines persist.

Need Help With Your Claim? Call Our Pennsylvania SSDI Attorneys

All SSDI claims present their own challenges but those involving a migraine disability are unique. Due to the fact that this disability can’t actually be seen, it’s harder to prove and successfully claim benefits. Those applying for SSDI due to their migraines must speak to a Scranton Social Security disability attorney.

If you’re a migraine sufferer and need disability benefits, call Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, LLP, at 570-344-9845. We’ll help gather all the evidence you need to prove your disability and work hard to get you the benefits you need. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about how we can assist with your claim.





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