Migraines are one of the leading health problems affecting women. They are especially common after a truck or car crash. So why is it so difficult to claim as a disability?
migraine: a recurrent throbbing headache with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound lasting from hours to days.
Women Experience Migraines Differently Than Men.
More severe and more frequent migraine attacks often result from changes in estrogen levels. Research has connected hormones to migraine, but not all migraines are hormonal. Following puberty, when estrogen influence begins, the prevalence rises among females. After puberty, migraine in women increases until age 40 or so, when it begins to decrease.
The frequency, duration and severity of migraines determine whether someone qualifies medically for disability benefits, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) also has technical or financial eligibility rules.
“Because the severity of migraines oftentimes is difficult to prove, it’s complicated when someone is attempting to claim their migraine as a disability. The best thing is to do is seek medical treatment. Both migraines and fibromyalgia are very subjective,” Brad Parker says.
When it comes to evaluating daily limitations, the SSA will use medical records and functional report forms that are completed by the migraine sufferer and their doctor. It’s critical to accurately reflect all limitations by thoroughly completing these forms and describing in detail the manner in which the headaches and other symptoms affect someone’s ability to perform everyday tasks.
How To Claim
While there is no definitive test to diagnose migraines, the SSA will want to see in the medical records that a doctor has diagnosed someone with recurrent migraine headaches. Migraines can often be diagnosed based on the patient’s reporting of their symptoms and the presence of a family history of migraines. In addition, doctors may order additional tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan to rule out other reasons for the headaches.
Brad says, “Keeping a log of about daily struggles and symptoms can be an extremely useful tool.” Function reports should list any challenges from drying your hair and preparing dinner to shopping for groceries and driving a car. The reports should also note how often a person has attacks and how long they put them out of commission.
Medical reports are a primary source of details for the SSA when determining eligibility as well. Although the SSA has no disability listing for migraines and therefore no clear list of essential medical evidence, they typically want to see the following for a migraine application:
- Diagnosis methods your doctor used to rule out other conditions and determine that your headaches are migraines
- Imaging scans results, like MRIs and CTs, if you’ve had them done
- Medications your doctor has prescribed and their affects
- A list of your symptoms and ideally notes from your primary care doctor and other medical professionals that have witnessed your symptoms first hand during office or emergency room visits
The report usually covers a minimum of three months, showing that migraines are frequent, severe and debilitating when they occur. The report should also show ongoing care from a physician and adherence to prescribed therapies.