Every year, Americans take over 110 million sick days because of migraine headaches. A migraine differs from a regular headache because it’s often accompanied by debilitating symptoms, including intense pounding, throbbing, or pulsing in one area of the head, severe sensitivity to sound or light, nausea, and vomiting.

Many veterans experience severe headaches but don’t realize they may be suffering from migraines. Not all doctors have the skill or expertise to accurately identify migraines, and sometimes they’re misdiagnosed as tension and sinus headaches.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes migraine headaches as a disability that may be service connected. If a veteran can prove that his migraines started when he was in service, were caused by a situation or an event while serving, or are related to other service connected illnesses or disabilities, he may be eligible for VA Disability benefits.

How to Prove Service Connection for Migraines

To prove a direct service connection for an in-service disease, injury, or condition, you must show that an incident or event that took place during service directly caused the medical condition you’re currently suffering from. Sometimes, however, it isn’t easy to make this connection.

There are ways to help prove a service connection for migraine headaches, including:

  • Provide medical evidence that you have been diagnosed with migraines. This evidence should detail the symptoms of your migraines.
  • Provide medical evidence or other evidence that your migraines began during your military service after a specific incident or event.
  • Provide medical evidence (medical opinion) that shows a connection between a service event and your migraines. 

The medical opinion is especially important for showing a direct service connection. A doctor usually does this through a “nexus letter.” This letter is specific to the veteran’s claim and states the likelihood that the military event caused the condition. The doctor can determine that this connection is “not likely,” “at least as likely as not,” “more than likely,” or “highly likely.”

If you’re a veteran who suffers from debilitating migraines and believes they were caused by your military service, you may qualify for disability benefits from the VA. Contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help determine if you’re eligible for VA Disability benefits.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska