Migraine headaches are an all-too-common condition among former service members. This debilitating condition often occurs secondary to other injuries and illnesses. If you served and are suffering from migraines, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.  

Common Medical Conditions Where Migraines Are Secondary

Ongoing medical research shows a clear association between migraines and other conditions—most notably PTSD, tinnitus, and hypertension—commonly known as high blood pressure. In a medical study among veterans nearly 50 percent of those with migraines were also diagnosed with PTSD. Migraine headaches are one of the most common secondary conditions for those who have ringing in their ears—medically known as tinnitus. More than one quarter of tinnitus patients also report having regular migraine headaches. And it is easy to understand how a veteran can develop intense headaches due to increased blood pressure.

These are all examples of secondary service-connected conditions. A secondary service-connected condition is when an established medical condition that was either caused or aggravated by an incident or event during a person’s time in the military leads to a new and separate condition.

Proving Your Case

You will need to demonstrate two things to the VA in order to be granted secondary service connection for migraines:

  • A diagnosis for migraine headaches; and
  • Medical evidence showing the link between your service-connected PTSD, tinnitus, or hypertension and your migraine headaches

This link is known as the nexus. Your private doctor or VA doctor will need to provide the VA with a nexus letter which is a medical opinion linking your migraines to your already service-connected disability. Any medical records that support a connection between those conditions are also worth submitting to the VA. The nexus between your primary condition and secondary condition must be clearly established in order to be granted service connection on a secondary basis. 

Convincing the VA that a secondary service condition qualifies for increased disability compensation can pose many challenges, but these cases can be won. If you believe you qualify or if you have applied for VA disability benefits and were denied, call or email the the Veteran Disability Attorneys at Cuddigan Law for a free, no obligation review of your case.

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