What are migraine headaches?

Migraines often cause a severe throbbing pain or pulsing sensation on one side of the head. This often leads to nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

What are the symptoms of migraine headaches?

Some people may experience visual phenomena such as auras, bright spots or flashes of light, leading to a migraine. Some people experience weakness or numbness in the face and difficulty speaking. Some people experience a migraine when the weather changes. If left untreated, a migraine can last for hours or days.

Do migraines qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

Migraines can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. In order to qualify, Social Security requires the following:

  • A diagnosis of migraine headaches must be made by a doctor or other Acceptable Medical Source (AMS). The evidence must document that the AMS who made the diagnosis reviewed the person’s medical history, conducted a physical examination and made the diagnosis only after excluding alternative medical and psychiatric causes for the person’s symptoms.
  • Observation of the migraine and a detailed description of the event including all associated phenomena by the AMS. During a physical examination, the AMS should document observable signs such as occasional tremors, problems concentrating, neck stiffness, dizziness, gait instability, shin flushing, puffy eyelids, secretion of tears and the need to be in a quiet or dark room. Social Security will consider observations from a third party if the party’s description is documented by an AMS and is consistent with the evidence in the file.
  • Remarkable or unremarkable findings on laboratory tests. In other words, a normal MRI is consistent with a primary headache disorder diagnosis.

Read more about the New SSA Rule for Headache Disorders and Disability Benefits

Why and when to hire a law firm

At Balin Law, we will encourage you to keep a migraine log by noting the day you experienced the migraine, how long it lasted and additional observable signs such as dizziness, nausea, skin flushing, etc. We will explore the ways in which your migraines impact your ability to function in the workplace. We will help make sure that your doctor or Acceptable Medical Source also documents these signs as well. If your case has been denied or you have questions about your case, we offer free case evaluations.