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Can Headaches be Disabling for Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability

Can headaches really be disabling for purposes of Social Security Disability?  The answer is — yes!   On August 26, 2019 the Social Security Agency issued SSR 19 -4P.  This new regulation deals with evaluating cases involving primary headache disorder.

Specifically, the new  regulation explains that primary headache disorders are  a collection of chronic headache illnesses characterized by  pain sensitive structures in the head typically severe enough to require prescription medication and sometimes can warrant hospital emergency room visits.   The regulations speak to medications, both orally prescribed and injections. Medications are designed to decrease intensity, frequency, and duration of symptoms.

Although not directly recognized as a ‘impairment’, the agency  will consider the limiting effects of  the headache  disorder on a person’s  residual  functional capacity. The residual  functional  capacity measures the ability to function and defines limitations, such as lifting, standing, walking, and sitting.

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, we provide the following tips to help your disability case along:

First, keep a headache  journal.  In your journal, make notations about what symptoms you experience, the duration and intensity of the headache, what medication you had to take, and whether you had to seek medical attention.  Note any additional symptoms you experienced, such as blurry vision, nausea, and more.

Second, start active treatment with a specialist, more specifically a neurologist.  Do your research.  Choose a neurologist that  specializes in treating clients with headache conditions.

Third, follow  your  Doctor’s  orders  regarding  use  of  medication.  Nothing can damage a social security disability case more than non-compliance with your doctor’s treatment regiment.

Fourth, in your journal, keep  track of headache frequency.  Specifically, record how many headaches you suffer from in any given month.

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines and it impairs your ability to function and work, call Mooney Law today at 833-MOONEYLAW.  We offer FREE consultations for Social Security Disability. Not only do we represent clients who have had their initial applications denied by the Agency, but we also assist clients WITH THEIR APPLICATION.  With 14 offices spread throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, we can help.  We represent clients in front of Social Security Judges in both Pennsylvania and Maryland.


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