How Much VA Disability is Available for Migraines?

How Much VA Disability is Available for Migraines?

Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide, including a significant number of Veterans. These intense, often chronic headaches can cause severe pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and visual disturbances. For Veterans, migraines can be particularly challenging, as they may be related to or exacerbated by their military service experiences, such as traumatic brain injuries, stress, or exposure to environmental hazards.

The impact of migraines on Veterans’ lives cannot be overstated. The pain and associated symptoms can greatly interfere with daily activities, work performance, and overall quality of life. Veterans may find it difficult to maintain steady employment, engage in social activities, or fulfill family responsibilities when struggling with frequent migraines. Furthermore, the chronic nature of migraines can lead to feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and even depression.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the impact of migraines on Veterans’ lives and offers disability compensation to those who can establish a service connection for their condition. Obtaining VA disability benefits for migraines can provide Veterans with much-needed financial support, access to healthcare services, and recognition of the challenges they face due to their condition.

Service Injuries and Migraines

Service-related injuries and experiences may contribute to the development or worsening of migraines in Veterans, potentially making them eligible for VA disability benefits. Some of these include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): TBIs are a common occurrence among Veterans, especially those who have served in combat zones. These injuries can result from explosive blasts, falls, or other head traumas. Migraines are a frequent consequence of TBIs, and Veterans who have experienced a TBI during their service may be more likely to develop chronic migraines.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after exposure to traumatic events, which many Veterans experience during their service. PTSD has been linked to an increased risk of migraines, possibly due to the chronic stress and emotional distress associated with the condition.
  • Neck and cervical spine injuries: Injuries to the neck and cervical spine, such as whiplash or cervical strain, can occur during military training or combat. These injuries can lead to tension headaches and migraines, as the nerves and muscles in the neck and upper back play a role in the development of headache disorders.
  • Exposure to environmental hazards: During their service, Veterans may be exposed to various environmental hazards, such as smoke from burn pits, chemical agents, or extreme weather conditions. Some of these exposures have been linked to an increased risk of migraines and other neurological conditions.
  • Medication side effects: Veterans may be prescribed medications to treat service-connected conditions, such as pain, anxiety, or depression. Some of these medications can have side effects that include migraines or may interact with other treatments, exacerbating migraine symptoms.
  • Sleep disorders: Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, are common among Veterans and can be related to service-connected conditions like PTSD or chronic pain. Poor sleep quality and quantity can trigger migraines or worsen existing migraine disorders.

When Veterans can demonstrate a link between their migraines and their military service, they may be eligible for VA disability benefits. This may be a direct service connection or a secondary service connection, where the migraines are caused by another service-connected condition.

VA Disability Ratings for Migraines

The VA uses a disability rating system to assess the severity of a Veteran’s service-connected conditions, including migraines. Disability ratings are assigned based on the frequency and severity of symptoms and their impact on a Vetera’’s ability to function in daily life and work. These ratings determine the amount of monthly compensation a Veteran receives.

Migraine disability rating criteria

The VA evaluates migraines under 38 CFR § 4.124a, Diagnostic Code 8100. The rating criteria are as follows:

  • 0% rating: This rating is assigned when migraines are less frequent and do not significantly impact a Veteran’s daily functioning. A 0% rating may be given if migraines occur less than once every two months or if they are well-controlled with medication.
  • 10% rating: Veterans may receive a 10% rating if they experience characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in two months over the last several months. Prostrating attacks are defined as severe migraine episodes that require the Veteran to lie down and rest until the headache subsides.
  • 30% rating: A 30% rating is assigned when a Veteran experiences characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average of once a month over the last several months. These attacks should be documented in medical records or through lay statements from the Veteran or their family members.
  • 50% rating: The highest rating for migraines, 50%, is assigned when a Veteran experiences very frequent, completely prostrating, and prolonged attacks that are productive of severe economic inadaptability. This means that the migraines occur so frequently and with such severity that they significantly impact the Veteran’s ability to work and maintain gainful employment.

The frequency and severity of migraines are the primary factors in determining a Veteran’s disability rating. The more frequent and severe the migraines, the higher the rating assigned. Veterans must keep detailed records of their migraine episodes, including the date, duration, severity, and associated symptoms. This information can be used to support their disability claim and ensure they receive the appropriate rating.

The impact of migraines on a Veteran’s daily functioning and ability to work is also considered when assigning a disability rating. Veterans should provide evidence of how their migraines affect their job performance, attendance, and overall economic adaptability. This may include employer statements, attendance records, or documentation of any accommodations required due to migraines.

Migraine Characteristics and Effects

Migraines are a neurological condition characterized by intense, often debilitating headaches. Common symptoms include throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and visual disturbances. There are two main types of migraines: those with aura (sensory disturbances before the headache) and those without aura.

Migraines can be triggered by various factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, and environmental stimuli. The impact of migraines on daily life and work can be significant, leading to decreased productivity, missed workdays, and reduced quality of life.

Applying for VA Disability Benefits for Migraines

When applying for VA disability benefits for migraines, Veterans must gather essential documentation to support their claim. This includes:

  • Medical records: Veterans should obtain copies of their civilian and military medical records documenting their migraine diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment history. This may include primary care physician notes, neurologist reports, and hospital records.
  • Service records: Veterans must provide their DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) and any other relevant service records that demonstrate their active-duty service dates and circumstances of their discharge.
  • Lay statements: Lay statements from family members, friends, or coworkers can help corroborate the Veteran’s account of their migraine symptoms and the impact on their daily life and work. These statements should be detailed and specific.

Filing a Claim

To file a claim for VA disability benefits, Veterans can submit their application online through the VA’s eBenefits portal, by mail, or in person at a local VA office. They must complete VA Form 21-526EZ (Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits) and submit it along with their supporting documentation.

After receiving the Veteran’s claim, the VA may schedule a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination to assess the severity of their migraines and determine if they are service-connected. During this examination, a VA healthcare provider will review the Veteran’s medical history, ask about their symptoms, and evaluate the impact of migraines on their daily functioning.


If the VA denies a Veteran’s initial claim for migraine disability benefits or assigns a lower rating than expected, the Veteran has the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process can be complex and time-consuming, involving multiple stages such as filing a Notice of Disagreement, submitting additional evidence, and attending hearings.

Experienced VA disability benefits lawyers can help Veterans navigate the complexities of the claims process. They can assist in gathering and organizing the necessary documentation to make the claim complete and compelling.

Additionally, VA disability benefits lawyers can represent Veterans during hearings, advocating on their behalf and arguing for the appropriate disability rating.

Contact Berry Law for Any VA Disability Claims for Migraines

Veterans suffering from migraines related to their military service should consider contacting the experienced VA disability benefits attorneys at Berry Law. We can help Veterans feel more confident in their claim and better equipped to secure the benefits they deserve for their service-connected migraines.

Contact Berry Law today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward securing the benefits earned through service and sacrifice. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available 24/7. Call Berry Law at (888) 883-2483 or contact us online today to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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