I have seen an increase in the amount of disability claims based on migraine headaches in the last ten to fifteen years. It is estimated by the Migraine Research Foundation, a private organization that funds research into causes of and treatments for migraine headaches, that approximately 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. These headaches result in employers losing over $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost workdays!
Migraine sufferers file for disability when the frequency and severity of headaches reaches the point where work activity is impossible, despite relaxation techniques and medication therapy.
In my experience, a winning migraine headache case has the following traits:
- The Judge perceives the claimant to be sincere, truthful and credible
- The claimant had tried all available therapies and medications (to no avail)
- The medical record confirms the claimant’s allegations of the severity and frequency of the headaches
My case strategy for winning a migraine case is based on a “functional capacity” argument. The basic argument is that due to the frequent and debilitating migraine headaches, my client would not be a reliable employee at even a low stress, simple job with minimal physical and mental demands.
I use this functional capacity argument (also known as residual functional capacity argument, or RFC argument) since Social Security has yet to publish a medical listing for migraine headaches. I suspect, however, that Social Security might publish a medical listing for migraine headaches one day. In fact, an organization known as the Migraine Awareness Group (aka M.A.G.N.U.M.) has already proposed legislation calling for Social Security to publish a migraine listing.
For more details on how I formulate a functional capacity argument to win a migraine Social Security Disability case, please visit The Functional Capacity Strategy for Migraines page.