Polly’s migraines began when she was 13 years old. Her headaches worsened over time. By age 26 she was finding it difficult to hold a job. Polly searched for work but also explored government benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, the big question was, are migraines a disability?
The Social Security’s Definition of Disability
SSDI benefits are available for total disability, not for conditions that cause partial or short-term disability. The Social Security Administration uses a fairly strict definition of disability:
- “You cannot do work that you did before;
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.”
If Polly considers her migraines a disability, she can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. She may provide medical records or allow the SSA to collect them. At that time, the Social Security Administration will consider additional factors.
Having a Medical Condition Is Not Enough
Many people have migraines, but not all of them are disabled. In reviewing an application and supporting evidence, Disability Determination Services personnel look for the following:
- Has your condition limited your ability lift, stand, walk, sit, remember for at least 12 months? Polly’s migraines have affected her ability to stand, walk, and sit for several years.
- Do you have a condition that appears on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions? Migraines are a neurological disorder. However, migraines are not specifically listed on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions. Still, since Polly’s migraines prevent her from working, she may continue with her application.
- Can the applicant continue doing the work they did prior to disability onset? Polly had worked as an accountant until her migraines prevented her from walking, sitting, remembering, and concentrating on her client’s accounts. Her migraines still prevent her from working as an accountant.
- Can the applicant perform any other kind of job? Polly was often bedfast for a week or so because of her migraines. She was also unable to concentrate for long periods of time. Her migraines likely will prevent her from doing any other type of work.
Polly will have to present medical evidence to support her claim. Disability Determination Services staff will contact her physicians to determine her medical condition and how it limits her activities.
Are Migraines a Disability?
Maybe. If someone with migraines is unable to work, then applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits makes sense.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients with Social Security Disability Insurance cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.