Migraines: Following Doctor’s Orders and Obtaining Disability Benefits

Victims of severe chronic migraines in Sarpy County may feel isolated, depressed, and alone. Doctors may prescribe various treatments for the headaches that include pain medication, anti-nausea medication, or preventative medication. These medications may cause unpleasant side effects. Often, the only way to effectively “treat” this debilitating condition is to lie down in a dark room without the presence of light or sound. While typically an applicant seeking Social Security disability benefits must demonstrate that he or she has sought and complied with medical treatment, there are certain acceptable reasons for an applicant to have failed to complied with treatment and still qualify for benefits.

Under what circumstances will the Social Security Administration deem your failure to comply with medical treatment “acceptable”? The following are four examples:

  • You cannot afford treatment. Many migraine medications and treatments are very expensive. If you do not have insurance or if your insurance does not cover the costs, this may be an acceptable reason for not seeking out the treatment.
  • The side effects are worse than the symptoms. Examples of side effects of some common migraine medications include dizziness, irritability, nausea, racing heart, and drowsiness.
  • Your doctor cannot find another treatment that would be effective, or, you find that you are able to get by without the recommended treatment by rearranging your life to minimize symptoms.
  • Your religion does not permit you to engage in the recommended treatment.

When the Social Security Administration reviews your application, a representative will contact you if they note that you have not complied with treatment for your chronic migraines. In many cases, it is advisable to be proactive and provide this information up front. Doing so may boost your credibility.

For frequent updates on Social Security matters and links to helpful information, we encourage you to follow Cuddigan Law, P.C., L.L.O., on Twitter!

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