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Applying for disability

Lately I’ve been pondering whether I should try to apply for disability or not. One part of me thinks that well I’m impacted daily and it debilitates me from doing many things such as chores, going to work, exercising, keeping plans and functioning in general. But I have heard so many stories about getting denied and going through appeals and with migraine just really been looked at as a “real” disability in 2019 from the awesome work at Headache on the Hill, I wonder is now the time I try to do this or should I keep pushing myself to work and I hate to say it but suffer through the day hoping I will be able to drive home because of sensitivity to light/blurred vision, tolerate the loud noises, concentrate, access my working memory. Cognitively I may be doing myself a disservice and worry if I keep pushing it will make things worse?!
Any words of advice/experience would be helpful!

  1. @KimboSlice117 my husband applied for disability when he had to stop working due to his chronic migraine disease. It was a process getting everything filled out. Many migraine sufferers also have additional things wrong with them so combined with migraine disease that could push you into more favorable territory as far as being approved. You have to make sure to list everything that impacts your ability to work and be reliable. Anything you can think of to show how these disabilities impact your life will help. It also would be a good idea to have a disability attorney in mind if you do get denied. They can be a great help. I hope this encourages you to try and get the process going. Warmly, Cheryl migraine team member


    1. KimB86


      I have had migraine since I was a very young child, & it has profoundly impacted my life. When I was in my 40s & 50s, my migraines became so frequent that I was missing a LOT of time from work. (My migraines typically last 2-3 days; at that time I was having at least 2 per week; it was almost non-stop migraine.) My employer was very supportive & understanding until they just couldn't continue to employ me due to my absences (which were MANY). I was told I could choose to quit or they would have to terminate my employment. It was devastating for me: financially, emotionally. I was not married, & I moved in with my Mother.


      I applied for Social Security Disability in April 2004; shortly after I left my job. I did not have an attorney; I did all the work. I had all past & current doctors complete paperwork for Social Security, but each one of them said it would be unlikely I would be approved. I had no other option but to apply.


      When I had my in-office appointment with Social Security, the kind woman interviewing me asked me to describe how migraine impacted my life. I explained in great detail about leaving a job I loved, huge loss of income & benefits, relationships lost or greatly altered, all the missed gatherings with friends & family, literally months & months of my life spent in great pain. I described all the other effects of migraine: nausea/vomiting; sensitivity to noise, light, odors; not being able to move without it feeling like a thousand hammers were beating inside my head; mental confusion & difficulty talking. I told her about all the failed medicines; how nothing ever stopped a migraine; about all the medicine side effects. I described what it was like to have this go on for 2 or 3 days at a time; to have multiple migraines per month - year after year. I described the depression that went along with this. (In my case, I had taken antidepressants at various times during my life - this was also indicated in the paperwork sent to Social Security & may have been an important factor.)


      In October 2004 I was notified by Social Security that my claim was approved. Approved with my initial application; no need for appeals. I was surprised & overjoyed. Personally I believe my approval was due to the completeness & abundance of paperwork submitted. But I think another huge factor was the Social Security employee who truly listened to my story. It is my opinion that the report she submitted was the clincher.

      1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to share, in detail, your real life experience with pursuing, and securing SSDI. It can be such a vastly different experience from person to person, and can depend so much, as you said, on the person you encounter at the social security offices. I am also on SSDI and had to call them today about a name change. I was hung up on twice and when I finally got through, the person was incredibly rude and hung up on me before asking if I had any other questions (which I did). Making an in-person connection can make all the difference (though is hard to do these days due to their offices being closed because of COVID), but, as you said, paperwork and the provision of comprehensive details is so key to being successful. It is just wonderful to have a real story outlined from which others can learn and be encouraged. You were very kind to have taken the time to gift our community with this. Thank you ever so much. Warmly, Holly (migraine.com team).

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