woman handling a headache

Can You File a Disability Claim for Headaches?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

To many, headaches are a nuisance. An ache that persists in your head for an extended period of time can be a real annoyance. For others, headaches become so severe and so persistent that it becomes a disabling condition. The chronic pain in their head prevents them from working. Many times, headaches are a symptom of an underlying health problem, whether it be anatomic, physiological, or even psychological. 

When headaches are a symptom of an underlying medical condition, that medical condition would play a central role in filing for Social Security disability benefits. In some cases, however, chronic headaches are, in and of themselves, the diagnosis. Seeking Social Security Disability benefits based on the medical condition of chronic headaches can be a bit of a challenge, but it is not an impossible feat.

Disability Claims for Headaches

As in any kind of claim for disability benefits, the disabling condition must be determined by medically accepted and objective clinical and laboratory diagnostic studies and techniques. The impairment must be established by objective medical evidence which comes from an acceptable medical source. Getting to this point when it comes to chronic headaches can be difficult, but you need to take certain steps to help ensure you will get to a successful disability benefits claim.

Thorough documentation from your medical providers will be critical. It is probably a good idea to see a specialist for your chronic headaches, such as a neurologist. Make sure you are receiving consistent treatment and follow-up care. This will not only help diagnose your condition and get you the treatment you need, but it will also generate consistent medical documentation regarding the nature and frequency of your headaches.

To get an initial diagnosis of chronic headaches, other medical conditions causing the headaches will need to be ruled out. This will require extensive testing and a thorough review of your medical history. For severe headaches, such as migraines, your doctor will look for the telltale signs of this condition and note them in your medical records. Symptoms of migraines include:

  • Blind spots and other visual disturbances
  • Tingling in the face and in the extremities
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Hearing noises
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue

In order for you to bring a successful disability claim for chronic headaches, you will also need to comply with treatment recommendations. This can involve avoiding certain triggers, such as food or beverages. It may also involve managing your stress, which can also be a trigger for headaches. Complying with the recommendations of your medical providers will be important to help you alleviate your chronic headaches, but it will also be critical in order to show the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your chronic headaches persist despite complying with prescribed treatment.

Los Angeles Disability Attorney

Chronic headaches, without any other underlying medical condition or problems causing them, can still be debilitating and prevent a person from retaining consistent work and a means to support themselves financially. If you are seeking a disability benefits claim for chronic headaches, talk to the team at Disability Advocates Group. We’re here to help. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.