The headaches are never-ending. The pain and suffering affect your job, your social life and your family.

The doctor diagnosed you with migraines. It is not just a headache, but your boss may not understand this. You have lost so many sick days, and you are not sure how long you will be able to keep your job. What can you do? Are disability benefits an option?

What is migraine?

Migraine is a neurological disorder that affects nearly one in four households. Migraines affect more than 85% of women. It is the sixth most disabling illness in the world.

Symptoms of a migraine include the following:

  • Headache
  • Photophobia
  • Phonophobia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

A migraine may last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. The Social Security Administration focuses on chronic migraines, which include headaches occurring 15 or more days a month for more than three months.

Does Social Security Disability cover migraines?

This question is not easy to answer. The Social Security Administration uses its Blue Book, which lists the different types of medical conditions the SSA covers. The Blue Book does not cover migraines, although migraine does have an impairment code – 3460 – listed under Neurological Disorders in the Program Operations Manual System.

How can I qualify?

Qualifying for disability benefits may require a lot of patience and work.

  1. Document your migraines in a journal. Take note of the frequency, severity and medication you use for treatment. Social Security may ask for evidence of your migraines, and you may need to show that even with treatment, they are difficult to control.
  2. Ask your doctor if he or she is willing to back up your migraine claims. The doctor may need to provide information about your visits and treatment plans.

It is essential to show that you continue to have problems with migraines and that they disrupt your life. If Social Security denies your claim, you may be able to appeal the decision.