Friday, September 21, 2007



Migraines Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability

As a disability examiner, I frequently found migraines listed on applications for social security disability along with, and to a lesser extent, cluster headaches. There is no listing set forth in the impairment listing manual used by disability examiners (a book that identifies the medical approval criteria for a number of conditions, both physical and mental).

However, as with any condition, an approval for benefits can be made as long as a claimant's medical records substantiate the existence of a residual functional capacity (translation: what a person can still do, despite their physical or mental problems) that precludes the ability to work and earn a substantial gainful income for at least one full year.

The following pages may answer some questions regarding the disability application and appeal process including what a claimant needs to have in order to file for disability, how long it generally takes to get a decision and why, how the social security administration defines disability, and tips for filing the first appeal in the SSD and SSI system (namely, the request for reconsideration).


1. What you need to have when you file for disability
2. Why does it take so long to get a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI Disability case?
3. What is a disability, or medically determinable impairment, for Social Security Disability or SSI?
4. What do you do if you get denied for Social Security Disability or SSI?
5. Tips for filing a Social Security Disability Reconsideration
6. Can Social Security Disability take as long as three years ?


What follows is basic information on Migraines:


Studies suggest that between twelve and twenty eight percent of all individuals suffer from migraines at least once in their lives. Premenopausal women seem to have the highest incidence of migraines; however, once menopause occurs women and men have about the same incidence of migraine headaches.

It has been suggested that migraines may be triggered by alcohol, caffeine, smoking, tension headaches, changes in menstrual cycle, birth control pills, odors, bright lights, loud noises, and allergic reactions. There are four commonly accepted phases of a migraine: prodrome, aura, pain, and postdrome.

The prodrome phase is characterized by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, neck muscle tenseness, sleepiness, or even euphoria. Studies indicate that forty to sixty percent of all migraine suffers have a prodrome phase.

The aura phase is characterized by a neurological occurrence that may involve vision, smell or hearing hallucinations, tingling sensations in the face, arms or legs, vertigo, or hypersensitive skin. Only twenty – thirty percent of all migraine sufferers have an aura phase. The aura phase symptoms usually take five to twenty minutes to manifest and usually last less than one hour.

The pain phase may be characterized by one or more of the following: nausea (ninety percent of migraine suffers), vomiting (about thirty percent), photophobia, hypersensitivity to odors, moderate to severe pain, and phonophobia. The pain phase may last anywhere from four to seventy two hours in adults and one to forty eight hours for children.

Lastly, the postdrome phase may be characterized by fatigue, irritability, concentration problems, and a general wrung out feeling. Postdrome phase migraine sufferers may also experience euphoria or depression during the final migraine phase.

However, there are many treatment options for migraine sufferers that include the use of trigger avoidance, symptom control, and prevention. Symptom control and prevention are often achieved through the use of medications, and avoiding specific migraine triggers (individuals should be familiar with their specific migraine trigger).




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