Day after day there is pain with no relief in sight. You get up and go to work, and throughout the day you take the over-counter pain medication to help with the hurt. But the agony in your head will not go away.

Migraine is not just a headache, but the boss does not understand. You have lost so many sick days, and you are not sure how long you will be able to keep your job. What can you do? Are disability benefits an option?

What is migraine?

Migraine is a neurological disorder. It is the sixth most disabling illness in the world and nearly one in four households in the United States has someone with migraines. More than 85% of them are women.

Symptoms of a migraine include headache, photophobia, phonophobia, nausea and vomiting.

A migraine can last anywhere from four to 72 hours. Adults with chronic migraine have migraines which occur 15 or more days a month.

Does Social Security Disability cover migraine?

This question is not easy to answer. The Social Security Administration has a Blue Book which lists different medical conditions. Migraine is not in the Blue Book, although migraine does have an impairment code – 3460 – listed under Neurological Disorders in the Program Operations Manual System.

How can I qualify?

Trying to qualify for disability benefits requires patience and work. It must also involve your neurologist or headache doctor.

  1. Keep a migraine journal. Note your pain every day. Document the frequency, severity and treatment. You must show how severe and frequent your migraines are and that even with treatment, they are difficult to manage.
  2. Make sure your doctor is willing to support your claim for disability. Your doctor will have to provide substantial documentation about your visits and treatment plans.

It is essential to show how much your migraines are interfering in your life and that you are doing everything your doctor tells you to do. If Social Security denies your claim, do not give up. You can appeal the decision.