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SSA CLARIFIES EVALUATION CRITERIA FOR HEADACHE-RELATED DISABILITIES

 

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The Social Security Administration recently issued a ruling that clarifies the evaluation criteria for primary headache disorders. SSR 19-4 p explains the meaning of primary headache disorders, a broad category of disorders that includes migraines. It also clarifies the typical diagnostic procedures that are used to determine the existence of these conditions. The ruling also outlines the criteria that the agency will use to determine a person’s eligibility for Social Society disability benefits.

The ruling clarifies that the primary headache disorders are migraines, tension headaches, and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. Doctors generally treat these disorders on an “exclusion” basis, meaning that they first determine that there are no other medical or psychiatric sources of these headache symptoms.

It also mentions keeping a journal of the headaches. If you suffer from migraines or frequent chronic headaches, then you must maintain a documented journal. Record the frequency and severity of your symptoms, the times of the days when these are most likely to occur, and the other symptoms that also accompany your headaches. Not only will this help your physician come to the right diagnostic conclusions, but the journal can also help you file a strong claim for disability benefits.

The ruling emphasizes that the Social Security Administration will only determine that a headache is a Medically Determinable Impairment through documented medical evidence and a physical examination that rules out other causes of the headaches. The agency may also require observational evidence of your headache.

If you suffer from frequent or chronic headaches, migraines, tension or cluster headaches, contact this law firm.