Some chronic migraine sufferers struggle to work through the pain. Others cannot work because of the frequency, duration, and severity of their migraines. Still, they need to earn a living and support their families. If this sounds like you, you may qualify for disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Social Security attorneys from Berger and Green can help you determine if you qualify for these government benefits, prepare your claim, and help you file your applications. If you already received a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), we can navigate the appeals process for you and help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation. We can help you get Social Security Disability (SSD) for chronic migraines in Pittsburgh.
How Do I Medically Qualify for Disability Based on My Migraines?
The SSA offers a book of impairment listings—called the Blue Book— that outlines the criteria you must meet to qualify for benefits based on your migraine diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is not an impairment listing specifically for chronic migraines. If your chronic headaches stem from another condition, you may qualify for disability under the criteria in Section 11.00 Neurological Disorders. In most cases, however, you will have to rely on other criteria to receive benefits. This does not mean you cannot get benefits based on your chronic migraines, just that your condition will need to be very well documented before you apply.
Getting approved for benefits based on your migraines relies heavily on your medical records and how well your doctor documents your condition. If you are not currently seeing a specialist for your headaches, you should begin seeing one. When your doctor is on board and understands your need for SSD, it makes getting the approval you seek much easier.
What Is a Residual Functional Capacity and Why Is It Important?
When you suffer from a condition not listed in the impairment listings, the SSA establishes your residual functional capacity (RFC) and uses it to determine if you qualify for benefits. Your RFC is a statement that outlines your abilities, including how long and how frequently you can work.
When determining your RFC, the Social Security examiner will look at your medical records and other documentation. They are looking to see the frequency and duration of your migraines, as well as how nausea, light and noise sensitivities, fatigue, and other symptoms affect your ability to work at a normal job. In some cases, they may ask you to see a doctor they pay for to learn more about your condition.
If the SSA sees your migraines significantly limit your ability to focus, interact with others, work on a computer, lift, walk, and perform other tasks, they will likely determine you meet their definition of disabled and qualify for monthly benefits. We can help you understand your options and help you apply to get the benefits you deserve.
What Type of Evidence Will the SSA Look for to Determine If I Have a Disability?
There is no single test to determine you are suffering from migraines. This often makes the condition difficult to diagnose—and harder to prove to the SSA. Often, doctors eliminate other causes of chronic headaches before offering a migraine diagnosis. This means your medical records need to document this entire process and leave no question about what could be causing your symptoms.
The disability examiner who handles your case will look for:
- Results of any tests your doctor used to rule out any other condition;
- Imaging scans your doctor used to understand your condition, including MRIs and CTs;
- Any treatment you have undergone and the results;
- Documentation of frequency and severity of your migraines from your doctor or a specialist; and
- Notes from any emergency department visit or other practitioners who witnessed your symptoms.
They will also request a document from your doctor about your diagnosis and impairments. That is another reason it is important to ensure you have a well-qualified physician on your side throughout this process. If you have concerns about your doctor or have not received regular treatment for your migraines, you should see a care provider who is a specialist and can help us get the benefits you deserve.
What Other Criteria Must I Meet to Get SSD for Migraines?
Getting SSD benefits for chronic migraines in Pittsburgh does not just require meeting the SSA’s medical criteria. You also need to meet other income and work history criteria, depending on which program you are seeking benefits under.
To qualify for SSDI, we will need to show:
- Your diagnosis occurred over a year ago or doctors predict you will suffer the same effects for at least a year;
- You earn below the substantial gainful activity(SGA) limit of $1,170 per month for 2017; and
- You have enough work creditsto qualify for benefits based on your work history and age.
For SSI, we will need to show:
- You meet strict income limits, including a monthly income of less than $735 for an individual or $1,103 per couple; and
- You have less than $2,000 in assets for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, excluding your car, home, and other exceptions.
We can help you determine which disability benefits you may qualify for and investigate other government benefits that could help you make ends meet despite your chronic migraines.
How Can I Talk to a Disability Lawyer in Pittsburgh?
The lawyers at Berger and Green offer free consultations if you need help filing a claim for SSDI, SSI, or other government benefits. We can also help you navigate the appeals process if the SSA already denied your initial application. We help you document your claim and represent you during your appeals hearing.
No matter what stage you find yourself in the disability application process, we will fight for the benefits you deserve. We know how important it is to your family. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a time to meet with one of our disability lawyers.