When I was just a young fella I recall having severe issues with migraine headaches. I was only about 6 or 7 years old but I recall that they were so severe that I would become nauseous. I was not able to do my homework at night and it really concerned my mother. I eventually went to a doctor about the issue. They performed X-rays, ran multiple tests, and could not figure out was wrong with me. I assumed I was just so smart that my brain was struggling to contain all of the knowledge I was gathering. Sadly this wasn’t the case either. My doctor said that I would eventually grow out of it. I obviously thought he was a quack. (I was awfully judgmental as a child.) It turns out my doctor was correct. By the time I was 9 I wasn’t having migraines any longer. It’s rare for me to get a headache that severe as an adult.
Why am I bringing this subject up now? Well, it’s rare for me to relate on a lot of claims Veterans file for in VA Disability. Migraine headaches are one of the areas in which Veterans can service connect for in VA Disability yet often aren’t aware that they can claim. Migraines are very prominent in our younger veterans, and headaches in general are a presumptive condition under Gulf War Illness. Let’s examine this subject in more detail.
Migraines are quite interesting in VA disability. For one, the most you can service connect on migraines is 50%. In fact, the ratings for Migraines are as follows: 0%, 10%, 30% and 50%.
According to the 38 CFR, here are the criteria for each level of migraines:
With very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability 50
With characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months 30
With characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months 10
With less frequent attacks 0
One thing that stands out in the description above is the phrase “prostrating attacks.” I don’t see a medical degree hanging from my walls, so I decided I better figure out what that means. According to Merriam-Webster, prostrating means that you are: “stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission; also : lying flat.” In other words, the pain of the headache is so severe that you are only able to go lie down to deal with the pain. I can relate to that. I recall many nights as a child in which I had to retreat to my bedroom to deal with the pain. Many Veterans have told me that they have to go to their bedroom in order to deal with the severe pain. They will black out all of their windows, get rid of all noise, and just lie on their bed for hours until the pain goes away. Some Veterans I have talked with in the past state that they have severe migraines multiple times per week. I personally couldn’t imagine trying to function as an adult with severe headaches like this every week.
What about headaches that aren’t considered migraines? Are they any different? According to the CFR they are not different than migraines when it comes to ratings. I spoke with Kris who reviews all of our claim files to verify this. He stated that the VA uses the same rating code for regular headaches as they do for migraines.
If you are a Veteran who is suffering from migraines, be sure to seek treatment from a medical professional for your conditions. Treatment is key in any VA disability claim. Also, when it comes to headaches as a whole, keeping a journal of your headaches can help get you service connected.
If you would like to know more about service connecting for headaches, give me a call for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also fill out this form so that we may contact you at a later time.