According to the American Migraine Foundation, over 39 million Americans have migraines. However, this number only includes diagnosed and treated cases—some believe the actual number is higher.
Meanwhile, the same foundation stated that U.S. veterans are more likely to experience migraines than civilians. Using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 36% of those who served active duty in Iraq for at least a year showed signs of migraine.
If you are a U.S. veteran and suffer from prostrating migraine headaches, you may be eligible for disability benefits. How much you can claim will depend on the VA rating for migraines. Learn more about this system here.
How Do Migraines Differ From Headaches?
Understandably, some people mistake migraines for severe headaches because others refer to them as migraine headaches, tension headaches, and sinus headaches. However, experts from the American Migraine Foundation consider migraines as disabling neurological diseases.
Their symptoms and treatment approaches differ from common headaches. Common symptoms associated with migraines include:
● High Pain Levels: Migraines tend to cause pain in the head at severe to intense levels. This kind of pain throbs and pulsates.
● Multiple Pain Locations: People usually feel migraines in the front or back of the head, sometimes both simultaneously. This pain would pound around the eyes or behind the cheeks.
● Disabling Pain: Migraine headache pain would force the person to stop moving because any physical activity would worsen the sensations.
● Nausea: People with migraines usually experience vomiting.
● Long-lasting Pain: Migraine attacks can last for hours and even days.
Does the VA Count Migraines as a Disability?
Yes, migraines count as disabilities, making U.S. veterans eligible for receiving VA help. However, veterans must prove that the migraines they experience have a military service connection.
For example, a veteran might have developed a mental health condition during their deployment, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), making their migraines secondary to the service-related condition they have. They may also have Gulf War illness, which affects up to 32% of military veterans.
Can Migraines Be Service/PTSD Related?
Yes. One study noted that there’s a connection between PTSD and migraines. If you have either of these conditions, it may be worth asking for a diagnosis of the other one, as well.
How Does the VA Rating System Work?
VA disability ratings depend on the medical evidence that a veteran submits as part of their VA disability claim. The VA may also obtain proof from their military records to validate veterans’ claims. Generally, the VA uses 38 CFR § 4.124a to rate disabilities from 0% to 100% in increments of 10%.
What Rating Do I Need From the VA To Get Migraine Treatment Covered?
Upon VA examination, the department may disburse disability compensation if they rate your condition at least 10%. Here’s a quick guide to determine what rating you are likely to get based on the frequency or level of your migraines:
● 10% VA Rating: You experience prostrating migraine attacks every two months, forcing you to lie down for several months.
● 30% VA Rating: You experience prostrating migraine attacks once a month for several months.
● 50% VA Rating: You experience completely prostrating migraine headaches, leading to economic inadaptability and individual unemployability.
How Many Migraines a Month Is Considered Chronic?
Medical professionals define chronic migraines using the following symptoms:
● At least 15 headaches a month.
● At least eight days of headaches with migraine features.
● Pain that occurs for more than three months.
How Do You Prove Debilitating Migraines to the VA?
You have a few ways to secure the benefits you deserve in a VA claim. Generally, the process involves collecting useful evidence surrounding your medical condition and including them when submitting a filled-out VA form. Some evidence can include:
● Medical Records: You may include copies of your physician’s diagnosis to back your claim.
● Employment Records: You may request attendance records from your company’s HR department to prove you missed work due to migraine attacks.
● Headache Journal: It’s helpful to keep track of the pain you experience during migraine attacks to describe your condition properly.
● Statements From Loved Ones: Family members, roommates, or friends living with you can share their statements if they witnessed you suffer from migraines.
How Do I Send In My Disability Claim?
The VA accepts disability claims in three ways:
- Online: Visit the VA’s disability compensation claim online portal.
- In-person: Fill out a printed VA form and mail it to the department’s address.
- Trained Professional: Get help from an accredited representative from a reliable third-party company, such as Trajector. We’re licensed to advice you as you complete the paperwork process.
Is It Hard To Get a Migraine Claim Approved?
Although the VA should look at each case fairly and accurately, it can be hard to get VA disability benefits approved. If you get denied, you may appeal the decision on your social security disability benefits using one of three review options:
- Supplemental Claim
- Higher-Level Review
- Board Appeal
Meanwhile, getting a professional to handle your case may be a better way to secure the benefits you deserve if you don’t want to risk denial.
What Are the Potential Benefits I Might Claim?
The pay you obtain as a veteran experiencing any disability will depend on the severity of your condition and its connection to your service. Whether you’re looking at a sleep apnea VA rating, PTSD VA rating, or insomnia VA rating, the numbers involved go from 10, 20, 30 percent, etc. However, the maximum migraine rating is 50% under Diagnostic Code 8100.
You can seek entitlement to TDIU benefits if your case involves migraines secondary to other service-related conditions, such as traumatic brain injury. For more information about VA disability benefits, visit our veteran benefit guide.
How Can Trajector Help Me?
At Trajector, we are dedicated to helping veterans secure medical evidence to strengthen their benefits claims. Veterans need just as much help in obtaining essential documents to support their journey. Discuss your circumstances with us today!