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Living with migraines can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of daily life. From excruciating pain to sensory sensitivities and cognitive impairment, the impact can be overwhelming. For veterans, particularly those who have served in combat zones or experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI), migraines may be a constant companion, complicating their reintegration into civilian life.

One avenue of support available to veterans in the United States is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits program. However, understanding whether migraines qualify for VA disability compensation can be complex and confusing. The VA’s criteria for determining disability claims related to migraines involve various factors, including the severity and frequency of attacks and their connection to military service.

In this blog series, we will delve into the intricacies of VA disability claims for migraines. We will explore the eligibility criteria and the evidence needed to support a claim. If you find the claims process daunting or overwhelming, know that you don’t have to navigate it alone. Chad Barr Law specializes in assisting veterans with their VA disability claims. With our experience and dedication, we can help you navigate the complexities of the application process, ensuring that your claim receives the attention and consideration it deserves. Our goal is to empower veterans like you to access the support and benefits you rightfully deserve for your sacrifices and service-related challenges.


What is a Migraine Headache?

Migraine headaches are more than just a headache; they are characterized by intense, throbbing pain that is often localized to one side of the head. This pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily activities, causing significant discomfort. What sets migraines apart from other types of headaches are the accompanying symptoms. Alongside the pain, individuals often experience nausea and vomiting, making it difficult to eat or keep food down. Sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia) is common, sometimes to the extent that even normal levels of light and sound become intolerable. Furthermore, in some cases, migraines are preceded or accompanied by visual disturbances known as aura. These can manifest as flashes of light, zigzag lines, or blind spots in the field of vision, adding another layer of complexity to the experience.

Can I get VA Disability for Migraines?

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) considers migraines to be a service-connected disability if you prove three fundamental elements:

1. Current Migraine Headache Diagnosis A formal diagnosis of migraines by a medical professional. 
2. In-Service Event or Illness Evidence of an event or illness during military service that could cause migraines. 
3. Medical Nexus A documented link between the diagnosis of migraines and the in-service event or illness. 

Migraines can qualify as a secondary service connection linked to other service-related disabilities, which is explained below.

By fulfilling these criteria, veterans can establish eligibility for VA benefits related to migraines.

It’s important for veterans seeking VA disability benefits for migraines to understand the specific requirements and procedures involved in the claims process. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney or advocate, such as those at Chad Barr Law, can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of VA disability claims. By gathering the necessary evidence and presenting a compelling case, veterans can increase their chances of receiving the benefits they rightfully deserve for their service-related migraines.

How the VA Rates Migraines

The most important term to know when applying for VA Disability Benefits for migraines is “prostrating.” The VA rates migraines based on whether or not your migraines are prostrating. For VA purposes, the term prostrating means your migraines cause extreme exhaustion, powerlessness, debilitation, or incapacitation with substantial inability to engage in ordinary activities.

  • A 50% disability rating is granted if you have prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability. Though this wording may be confusing, if you typically experience migraine attacks more than once a month and that cause you to miss work or leave work early, you may qualify for a 50% rating.
  • A 30% disability rating is granted if you have prostrating attacks on average once a month over the past few months.
  • A 10% disability rating is granted if you have prostrating attacks once every two months over the past few months.
  • A 0% disability rating is granted if you have prostrating migraine attacks less than once every two months.

C&P Exam for Migraines

During C&P exams for migraines, the examiner assesses whether your migraines are prostrating and how frequently they occur. Therefore, it is crucial to describe how your symptoms impact your ability to complete activities of daily living. You should also tell the examiner the average number of times in a specific time period you experience migraines that limit your ability to do your activities of daily living. any symptoms or restrictions you encounter during a migraine episode to enable the examiner to evaluate your condition accurately.

Important Reminders:

  • Ensure you attend all scheduled C&P exams. If unable to make an appointment, reschedule promptly. Missing an exam could result in claim denial.
  • Provide accurate descriptions of your symptoms, particularly during severe migraine episodes. Avoid minimizing or overstating your symptoms.
  • Maintain a thorough record of your migraine symptoms, noting frequency and severity, to bolster your claim. There are a variety of phone apps that can help you keep track of your symptoms.

Secondary Conditions to Migraines

Secondary conditions stemming from migraines can encompass various ailments like tinnitus, hypertension, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety, and depression, either triggered by or exacerbated by migraines. Identifying these conditions and correlating them with your primary migraine diagnosis could be pivotal in accessing increased VA benefits.

To secure secondary service connection for the aforementioned conditions from the VA, you must establish two crucial elements: a diagnosis of migraine headaches and medical evidence illustrating the association between your service-connected conditions (like PTSD, tinnitus, hypertension, etc.) and your migraine headaches.

How Chad Barr Law’s VA Attorneys can Help

Chad Barr Law can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the process of proving a service connection for migraines and securing VA disability benefits. Here is how we can help:

  1. Solid Guidance: We have extensive experience in handling VA disability claims, including those related to migraines. Our team of legal professionals understands the intricate requirements and nuances of the VA system, ensuring that clients receive accurate guidance throughout the process.
  2. Evidence Gathering: We can assist in gathering and organizing the necessary evidence to support the claim for a service connection. This may involve obtaining medical records, service records, and other relevant documentation to establish the connection between migraines and the in-service event or illness.
  3. Medical Nexus Development: We can work closely with medical professionals to develop a strong medical nexus, providing medical opinions that establish the link between migraines and the service-related event or illness. This step is crucial in demonstrating eligibility for VA benefits.
  4. Claim Preparation and Submission: We can help prepare and submit the VA disability claim, ensuring that all required forms are completed accurately, and all supporting evidence is included. This helps streamline the process and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  5. Appeals Assistance: If the initial claim is denied or if there are any complications in the process, we can provide representation in appeals proceedings. We will advocate for our clients’ rights and work diligently to overturn unfavorable decisions.

Overall, Chad Barr Law offers comprehensive legal support tailored to veterans seeking VA disability benefits for migraines, guiding them through every step of the process with experience and dedication.