Is Migraine A Disability: SSDI Benefits


Is Migraine A Disability?

Many health organizations recognise migraine as a disability. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) includes migraine in its classification of neurological disorders. After all, the symptoms of migraine are debilitating. Some debilitating symptoms include migraine aura, nausea, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound etc.

What Is A Disability?

A disability is a condition, either physical or mental, that significantly restricts one or more major life activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes the legal framework for disabilities, particularly in the context of employment. It is important to recognize that this definition is based on legal, rather than medical, criteria. According to the ADA, a disability refers to a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

It’s important to note that what qualifies as a disability under the ADA may differ from the criteria used by the Social Security Administration for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For the purpose of this article, the focus is solely on the requirements outlined by the ADA.

Does Migraine Qualify As A Disability?

Determining whether migraine qualify as a disability depends on the impact they have on an employee’s ability to perform their job. Shruti Kulkarni, JD, Principal Attorney at Sequel Legal/Aimed Alliance, highlights that this is not a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer. She explains that disability determinations are made on a case-by-case basis rather than relying on a predefined list of conditions.

Essentially, to establish migraines as a disability, individuals need to demonstrate that their condition is severe enough to significantly affect or limit their ability to carry out the necessary tasks required for their job. Additionally, they must show that they are qualified for their position and that, even with or without reasonable accommodations, they can still fulfill the essential duties of their job. The term “with or without reasonable accommodations” may seem confusing, but it emphasizes that a worker may utilize accommodations while still being able to complete their job tasks. The tasks themselves must be accomplished, but the way in which the worker accomplishes them may be adjusted.

Under the ADA, a disability is characterized by impairments in one or more major life activities. Kulkarni explains that disability refers to impairments that substantially limit major life activities, such as working or self-care. Major life activities encompass a wide range of functions, including but not limited to seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. All of these activities can be considered major life activities within the context of the ADA.

The ADA also protects migraine patients from work discrimination.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with migraines?

There are different types of disability benefits for migraine available. Disability benefits encompass short-term and long-term disability, as well as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

Short-term Disability For Migraine

Some employers offer short-term disability benefits as part of their health insurance coverage to migraine patients. This type of benefit typically provides paid medical leave for up to 90 days, allowing individuals to recover from migraine symptoms and explore potential treatments.

Long-term Disability For Migraine

After exhausting the short-term disability benefits, migraine patients may need to apply for long-term disability benefits. Some employers also offer long-term disability coverage, which typically provides between 50-70% of the individual’s salary while they are unable to work due to illness. The specific criteria and evidence required may vary, so it is advisable to consult with the employer for detailed information.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) For Migraine

SSDI is a federally funded program that can supplement employer-backed disability benefits for migraine. To be eligible for the SSDI for migraine, individuals must have paid enough Social Security taxes in recent years. The program has specific requirements and a waiting period of five months before receiving benefit payments.

How To Apply For SSDI Benefits For Migraine?

You will need to apply for SSDI benefits for migraine as soon as possible, considering the waiting period involved. To strengthen the chances of being approved for disability benefits, gathering migraine medical records is essential. The following information needed for the SSDI application include:

  • Name of the condition (migraine)
  • Name, address, and phone number of medical professionals consulted for migraines
  • List of medications taken for migraines and details about the prescribing healthcare provider
  • Detailed information from medical professionals, including test results and recommendations

Additionally, individuals should gather information about their work history, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires individuals to have earned enough “credits” to qualify for SSDI. The number of credits needed depends on factors such as total earnings and age.

The application for SSDI benefits can be submitted online, by mail, or directly to a local SSA office. It is important to provide accurate and complete information, including personal details, marital status, dependent information, and the necessary forms, such as the medical release form (SSA-827) and the medical and job worksheet form (SSA-3381). The SSA provides a downloadable checklist to guide applicants through the application process.

Note: It is advisable to consult with a legal or benefits expert or contact the relevant government agency to ensure accurate and up-to-date information specific to individual circumstances and jurisdiction.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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