Can I Receive VA Disability Benefits for Headaches?

Yes, you may be able to receive VA benefits for headaches.  However, it is not as simple as reporting headaches and receiving compensation.  You must prove that it is part of a currently diagnosed condition and that it is related to your time in service.

Almost everyone gets a headache from time to time, but if they happen often enough, they can prevent you from keeping a job or enjoying your leisure time. Migraine headaches can be completely immobilizing, as the only reliable relief may be lying down in a darkened room. Unfortunately, many Veterans are not aware that they may receive VA disability benefits for headaches if they can be linked to something that happened during military service.

Whether headaches are a symptom that stems from a mental health condition (like PTSD), or a product of sinus problems that developed during service, Veterans are entitled to file for service connection for headaches.

If the headaches are linked to service, the Veteran will receive a rating percentage associated with the overall impact on livelihood.  There are multiple levels of disability ratings for headaches, with 50% being the highest rating that a Veteran can receive for headaches alone. This level of rating is reserved for service-connected headaches that cause attacks that produce physical weakness, require long periods of lying down, and occur at least two times per month.

Demonstrating the Effects of the Headache

When your disability claim is looked over by a VA ratings specialist, existing evidence that your migraine is “prostrating” (causing both weakness and the need to lie down) will jump off the page. To make sure that your migraine will be rated accurately, you need to provide documentation showing that your headache qualifies as a migraine. You should obtain a diagnosis from a medical specialist and provide records and statements from family and friends about instances when your migraines disrupted your life.

When you visit your doctor, it is important to tell them exactly how your migraines make you feel. Are you unable to remain productive when you have one? Do they cause weakness? Are you often reduced to lying down for hours or days because your head won’t stop hurting? The more descriptive you can be, the more likely it is that your medical statements will convince the VA to rate you higher.

Links to Other Issues

If you have headaches that cause other problems, such as complete unemployability, you may be entitled to additional benefits.  Similarly, your headaches may be secondary to another ailment like Traumatic Brain Injury or a Mental Health impairment.  It is important to work with your doctor and your lawyer to discuss all the issues you are dealing with.

If you have suffered from intense headaches ever since returning from service, or even if they started decades after you took off the uniform, you may qualify for disability benefits. Please contact us to discuss your situation.