VA disability benefits are available for those suffering from migraines as a result of military service. However the rating schedule and application process are a little different because of the nuances of the condition.
Migraine attacks are a common problem for veterans who served in active duty, and the symptoms vary greatly. Every sufferer experiences some level of head pain. Some have severe pain for hours at a time, which can lead to people feeling nauseous or dizzy, while others have mild discomfort for only a few minutes.Severe migraines can completely debilitate an individual, making it impossible to function in daily life. In some cases, someone may be unable to work, leading to financial hardship. There is support for veterans. The VA provides disability benefits for this medical condition.
However, the process is a little different from usual. You must handle your claim correctly for the best chance of securing your entitled compensation due to migraines. Here’s what you need to know about filing migraine VA claims.
Proving that you have migraines
Before you can receive a disability rating for migraines, you’ll have to demonstrate that you suffer from migraines in the first place. However, the thing about chronic migraines is that doctors won’t necessarily find any physical evidence to support a diagnosis, although they can rule other things out.
You’ll start the process by visiting your doctor and talking about your condition. Make sure your headaches are documented in your health care medical records. This includes information on your symptoms, the frequency of your migraines, your limitations, and any precautions you’re taking. The more medical documentation you have, the easier the process becomes.
It might also help to speak with a migraine expert or neurologist. Specialized doctors can make a more accurate diagnosis, which will improve your claim.
There’s no way to prove or disprove the presence of service connected migraines. This means the benefits you receive will depend on how limiting your condition is and how often your migraines occur.
Keep a journal that describes your symptoms like pain, nausea, and vomiting and their frequency. This shows the VA how much the condition restricts you. The more information you’re able to provide, the simpler it becomes to get the highest available disability rating.
Factors that determine VA ratings for migraines
There are a few aspects that are considered by the VA when assigning a rating for migraines.
- Prolonged Period of Symptoms – While there’s not a specific amount of time defined by the VA, the length of time the migraines last is a factor. This is where keeping the headache journal comes will help. By documenting the onset of the attacks and the recovery time you can offer this as proof that migraines are prolonged.
- Necessity of Prostration – One issue with determining your disability rating is the term prostrating. This means the attack forces you to lay down because the pain is so severe. You’ll want to document any prostrating attacks you endure and include this information in your migraine VA claim.
- Severe Economic Inadaptability – Meeting this condition may help you receive the highest disability rating. If frequent prostrating migraines prevent you from work more than one day per month, then the VA will take that into consideration when assigning a rating.
How the VA rates migraines
The VA rating schedule for migraines, listed under 38 CFR diagnostic code 8100, differs from other disabilities because you can only receive a rating of 0%, 10%, 30%, or 50%. The rating you receive also depends on your limitations, rather than a report on your physical injuries.
This means you won’t receive any compensation for migraines. The VA may believe you experience migraines, but it also believes that they don’t impact your daily life.
There is evidence of a prostrating attack on an average of once every two months for a period of several months. Basically, if your migraines make it difficult for you to function every couple of months, you could receive a 10% VA disability rating.
30% VA rating
Your migraines will have to appear once per month, on average, for many months. If you’re dealing with one prostrating attack every 30 days or so, a 30% VA rating is likely.
50% disability rating
This means you suffer from frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks that make it difficult for you to work. These attacks would be prolonged and creating economic hardship for you to qualify for these benefits.
Can you receive a higher rating?
The VA rating limit for migraines is 50% for disabled veterans. Although, it’s possible to receive more money if you have multiple conditions. The 50% rating means that your condition hinders your employability and takes away from your income. In some cases, however, migraines and other conditions can make it impossible to work.
If you find yourself in a situation where your ability to work is challenged, then you will want to file a TDIU claim. Your TDIU rating represents your total disability based on individual unemployability.
To receive these additional benefits requires two or more service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of 70%, along with proof that you can’t hold a job. Since other possibly service-related conditions like anxiety, depression, or TBIs can cause migraines, you should speak with a doctor to see if you have a secondary disability.
Putting your claim together
A lot goes into a VA migraine disability claim compared to other claims because there is not a physical injury for a doctor to assign a value. Much of your application will rely on your documentation of your experiences relating to the frequency and severity of your attacks.
Speak with the team at Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting before submitting a claim for your migraines. Our experts will ensure you present the right documentation to show the severity and frequency of your migraines, This will help maximize your disability compensation.