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50 Percent Rating for Migraines

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Kayla D’Onofrio: Hi, I am Kayla D’Onofrio. Welcome to CCK Live and Under 5:00, our new short-form videos that cover important veteran’s topics in five minutes or less. Today, we are going to be talking about fifty percent disability ratings for migraine headaches. A migraine headache is a type of headache that is characterized by really intense pain and has accompanying symptoms that are commonly nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, lightheadedness, and blurred vision. These symptoms really do interfere significantly with a person’s daily activities. The migraine headaches can last anywhere from a few hours to, sometimes, days at a time on the more extreme end of things.

Kayla: Some people do experience warning signs when they are getting a migraine attack. Some of these warnings might include visual auras, blind spots or bright spots in your vision, pins and needles sensations in the arms or legs, and difficulty speaking. Other warning signs might be neck stiffness and mood changes, things of that nature. However, this is not an exhaustive list by any means. After a migraine starts to dissipate a little, a person may feel drained, fatigued, or just generally exhausted from the experience as a whole.

Kayla: They do rate migraines based on severity and frequency and the rating scale for migraines goes from a scale of zero to fifty percent. They are rated under Regulation 38 CFR 4.124A. The diagnostic code is 8100. For the fifty-percent rating specifically, the rating criteria defines migraine headaches as being, ‘very frequent, completely prostrating, and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.’

Kayla: The first part is ‘prostrating.’ Prostrating basically means that a veteran’s migraine headaches are so severe and so debilitating that they kind of incapacitate the veteran. They may have to lay down in a darker and quiet room for an extended period but really, they are not able to do anything because of that pain and exhaustion and physical weakness related to the migraine headache.

Kayla: The second aspect is ‘very frequent.’ VA does not really define what that means, but in general, it would be a headache occurring probably more than once per month.

Kayla: The next part is ‘prolonged’ which has to do with the length of time that the migraine is actually lasting. So if it does last longer than a few hours at a time, that may be considered a prolonged attack.

Kayla: And the last element is the ‘severe economic inadaptability.’ Basically, what that means is that your migraine affects your ability to work or often requires you to be absent from work several days out of the month. This can be a difficult threshold to meet. VA often improperly requires that a veteran has to show that they are producing severe economic inadaptability but the regulation only requires that you show that the headaches are capable of producing severe economic inadaptability. So you do not have to show necessarily that you are unemployable because of the headaches, you just have to show that the pain is so severe that it would prevent you from working or would potentially contribute to you missing work.

Kayla: There are a couple of different things that you can submit to VA to help support your claim. Some of the most supportive evidence can come in the form of lay evidence. If you can provide a statement to VA that talks about how these attacks affect you, how long your headaches last, how severe they are, the things that you can and cannot do while you have the headaches, and statements from other people that have witnessed these attacks can also be helpful to support any information that you are providing. Medical opinions from healthcare providers can also be helpful in discussing the severity of the symptoms and also because there is that occupational component to it. Sometimes, getting a vocational expert to provide an opinion can be helpful as well.

Kayla: So for more information on migraine headaches, feel free to visit our blog at cck-law.com and do not forget to follow us on social media for the latest updates on veteran-related news.