If you’re a Veteran who suffers from migraines, you know they can disrupt daily life and even disable you. Migraines are among the most common service-connected medical conditions Veterans can experience and are typically unpredictable. Some days, you may feel fine, and other days, the pain is so intense you may find it hard to function normally.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes migraines as a disabling condition, and Veterans may receive disability compensation from the VA. But how does the VA rate migraines, and how can you get the compensation you deserve to help you in dealing with them?
Getting compensation from the VA for migraines presents many challenges, so you need an experienced VA disability benefits attorney to help navigate the process and get you the compensation you deserve. Read on to discover more about migraines, how the VA rates them, and how to increase your chances of getting VA benefits.
Most everyone gets a headache from time to time. However, migraines are usually more severe and can cause excruciating pain. They are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, a throbbing or pulsating sensation, and sensitivity to light and/or sound.
Migraines can last a few hours to a few days and may occur several times per month or even more frequently. Because of this, they can disrupt virtually every aspect of your life, making you just want to lie down in a darkened room until the symptoms pass. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) classifies migraines as a disabling headache disorder “characterized by recurrent unilateral pulsatile headaches” and has assigned an ICD-10 code for billing and reimbursement purposes.
Physicians struggle to point to one specific cause for migraines, and a variety of factors can influence who gets them and how severe they are.
Some common triggers include:
Additionally, researchers have noted that Veterans experience a higher occurrence of migraines than the civilian population, especially if s/he saw active combat, was exposed to loud noises, and/or had a history of falls, concussions, or neck injuries.
The VA reported that 36 percent of Veterans exhibited migraine symptoms or received a migraine diagnosis after a 12-month deployment in Iraq. In contrast, only around 12 percent of the general population experienced migraines.
The VA assigns ratings to determine the percentage of benefits Veterans may receive. The maximum rating for migraines is 50 percent, so you could receive up to 50 percent of your eligible benefits due to your condition.
The VA will consider the following when determining the rating for migraines:
*Generally, the term “prostrating” means a person experiences extreme weakness due to migraines and must lie down for a long period of time. The VA uses this word to characterize how severe the headaches are.
Additionally, if your migraines are so frequent–multiple times per month–and severe, restricting your ability to maintain gainful employment, you may be eligible for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU).
If approved, you will receive a 100 percent disability rating. Still, you must submit substantial evidence, including medical records, employment history, testimony from employers, and other forms of documentation supporting your claim.
These ratings and classifications have been the subject of intense litigation in the courts, particularly the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The language surrounding “prostrating attacks,” “severe economic inadaptability,” and “prolonged period of symptoms” is not clearly defined and, thus, is open to interpretation. As a result, many Veterans have received claim denials for their migraines.
Speak with an experienced VA benefits attorney right away if you don’t agree with the disability rating the VA assigned or if you received a claim denial for migraines.
To receive VA disability benefits for migraines, you must show:
Your migraines don’t have to be directly related to military service for you to receive VA benefits. Migraines are often caused or aggravated by other service-connected conditions, such as PTSD, chemical exposure, or tinnitus, among others.
Proving your migraines are service-related is typically one of the most challenging aspects of the process, so get help to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Whether you are in the process of submitting your initial claim or you received a claim denial from the VA, you can greatly improve your chance of favorable results if you work with a VA benefits attorney in your area.
Many of the VA disability benefits attorneys at Berry Law are Veterans ourselves, with more than 300 years of collective military service. Berry Law has helped more than 14,000 Veterans receive their rightful benefits for migraines and other service-related conditions, recovering over $300 million in back pay and other benefits. We have served Veterans for more than 50 years across the country, and we promise to do all we can to help you get the full and rightful benefits you deserve.
Contact us today for your confidential consultation.
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