For many, getting approved for disability benefits for Migraine can be an uphill battle. Most claims are denied immediately as this disease isn’t considered severe enough to warrant disability in the United States. That said, the process is not impossible and can even go smoothly for some people if they are prepared and well-informed. Here are some tips to help you along your journey to getting approved:
1. Get familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act
Depending on how long you’re planning to be away from work, the FMLA can be essential in protecting your employment. This act protects your job at any company with over 50 employees for 12 weeks during each 12 month period, and ensures that your health insurance is still covered and you must be able to return to your job at the end of the period.
2. Make sure you have support from your doctor
If you don’t have a doctor on board, you can be pretty sure that your claim will not be accepted. Showing that you’ve sought medical treatment from a qualified doctor is a huge step towards receiving disability.
3. Understand the difference between short- and long-term disability
Short-term disability is a stopgap for taking time off and waiting for long-term disability to kick in. This is usually for a period of 90 days, but you’ll want to communicate with your employer about what your options are in this crucial waiting period.
4. Buckle up for a lot of paperwork
The reason you’re applying for disability is because you can’t manage your pain and still work full-time, so understand that you will likely need help with the mountains of paperwork involved. Be honest about your limitations and ask for help when you need it!
5. Talk with your evaluator about the nuances of Migraine
The person evaluating your disability claim may know nothing about migraine disease, and even think of it as ‘just a headache’. Remember that it is important to change their mind so they can understand what you’re going through. Make sure you’ve catalogued all your symptoms in a headache diary, from aura to postdrome and on.
6. Determine if you need Social Security Disability Income
While short and long term disability is provided by your employer, SSDI comes directly from the government. Some employers will require that you apply for SSDI in addition to their support, so make sure to research what you will need for an application.
7. Build a Migraine History
Write, write, write! The best way to document your disease is to write it down. Keeping a headache diary for at least three months will make it clear that your migraine is not only painful, but also prevents you from working even with treatment.
There is a treasure trove of resources out there to help you find your way. Together, we don’t have to go it alone.