Dear Hoochie824 -
I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a hard time. I want to share some info with you about applying for Disability. We have several articles here on the site that may help you - I have linked them below. The key things to remember are that it takes persistence, and you really need a doctor in your corner who will document your disability. There is lots of precedent for people getting disability for Migraines. In the meantime, if you're living on $120 a week in child support, please don't hesitate to look into the other governement programs that may be available to help you support yourself.
It can be a long process to get disability benefits for Migraine or other headache disorders. I'll give you some tips and pointers to get you started.
1. Get Help from Your Doctor: The first thing you will need is a doctor who will support your claim to being medically disabled. You need a specific diagnosis and a doctor who will document that your headaches make you unable to work. Whether or not your claim is successful, and whether you have to go through a long appeals process, will often depend on how good your medical documentation is. I wrote a sharepost on this topic which you can read here Need to Apply for Disability? Help Your Doctor Help You.
The key is for you to make sure your medical records contain evidence of your disability - ask your doctor to include the fact that you cannot work, and details of that, such as triggers in the workplace, exact details of the frequency and length of your headaches, regular activities of life and work that you cannot do, etc. It will help if you also keep records - a headache diary is useful for your doctor to treat you; it is also useful as evidence of your condition and how it is affecting your life and ability to work. Include details of your level of disability on a given day.
2. Types of Disability Benefits:
a. Private Insurance: It sounds like you have private disability insurance, through your employer, or privately purchased? If so, get hold of a copy of the benefits plan and look carefully at what they cover and what they require to start a claim. Plans will vary, you want to follow their procedures carefully and keep copies of everything you submit to them. An attorney should be able to help you with the denial.
b. Social Security Disability (SSI & SSDI): If you are looking to apply for government disability benefits, from the Social Security Administration, we have a number of members of this site who have succeeded in getting Social Security disability for Migraines or other headache disorders. There is already a very good article on this site on the two forms of Social Security disability, and the requirements for each. You can read that here: Disability Benefits: SSI and SSDI.
Basically, you will need to show that you are unable to perform the work you have done previously, that you are unable to train for other work, that you are not working in the current year, that your condition is severe and that you are totally and permanently disabled. Whether you receive SSI or SSDI is based on whether you have been working and contributing social security taxes (in which case you would apply for SSDI); otherwise the same eligibility requirements apply to both programs.
The difficulties are that for both programs you must not have been working in the current year, and for SSDI you cannot receive benefits until 6 months after your disability is determined to have begun. The government assumes you have some other resources to live on in these waiting periods!
You can appoint a representative (either an attorney or someone else) to handle the process for you. Some attorneys will handle these applications on a contingent fee basis - where their fee is based on a percentage of your initial benefits, and they don't collect a fee unless your claim is successful.
Good luck to you!Let us know how you make out.
- Megan Oltman