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Seeking disability for chronic migraines

It's not just a headache, but you are past trying to explain to others why your migraines keep you from doing things you want or need to do. This may include going to your job. It is a difficult decision to quit working because of a medical condition, and one as mysterious and complex as chronic migraines is not always easy to justify.

You have hopes that you will qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, but for most first-time applicants, the chances of approval are slim. In fact, only about 25 percent of those who apply receive benefits, and even fewer win their appeals. This is why you must take every possible step to present a complete and convincing application for disability, especially with a condition that is difficult to diagnose and harder to treat.

Overwhelm the SSA with information

If you are in bed or otherwise incapacitated eight to 15 days in a month because of your migraines, you know how difficult it is to remain employed. Nevertheless, you need to make a living, and disability benefits can help you make ends meet if you cannot work. Having a doctor who can support your quest for disability can be a tremendous advantage. In fact, your doctor will have to complete documentation for your claim, so his or her advocacy can be invaluable.

In addition to the documentation for your application, there are other sources of information you can draw upon to make your application as thorough as possible, for example:

  • Complete medical records from every specialist you have visited, not just those limited to neurology
  • Copies of CT scans, MRIs, blood work and any tests you have taken to help with your diagnosis
  • Information about any treatments you are currently undergoing or have done in the past, including medications, physical therapy, infusions and alternative therapies like acupuncture
  • A log of a typical day with a migraine including as much detail as possible about your struggles with daily tasks, how it affects your relationships and how it impedes your ability to function at your job
  • Documentation from your employer and co-workers about your absences, struggles at work and overall well-being
  • Reports from your family members and others close to you about how your migraines affect your daily life

You may wish to confirm that any of these people would be willing to make statements before a Social Security judge attesting to your disabling condition. Perhaps your most valuable asset will be a North Carolina legal professional who understands the disability application process and who can guide you through the complicated and tedious process.

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