Special Rules for 50% Migraine VA Ratings

If you are a veteran who suffers from service-connected migraine headaches, you need to make sure VA pays you benefits at the proper rating.  In previous articles, I have discussed the four different ratings of 0%, 10%, 30% and 50%.  I hope you find those articles helpful in making sure VA rates your migraine headaches properly.

As those articles discusses, a 50% rating is the highest that VA will assign for migraine headaches.  But, migraine headaches that qualify for that rating often cause other issues, especially with maintaining a job.

In this article, I will focus on two issues that come up specifically with 50% migraine headache ratings:

  1. How do you prove a 50% migraine headache rating when you are already out of work?
  2. Should a 50% migraine headache rating almost always qualify you for a 100% rating through TDIU?

Man with his hand on in his head in pain How can I prove that I have “severe economic inadaptability” and qualify for a 50% VA migraine headache rating if I am already unemployed?

The article I wrote about 50% migraine headache VA ratings discusses the different requirements of qualifying for that rating level.  One of the key requirements is that your headaches produce “severe economic inadaptability.”

So, you have to show that your headaches make it difficult to work.  What do you do if you are already unemployed?  If you can show that your headaches caused you to have to quit your job or to get fired, you probably will not have a problem.

But, what do you do if it’s not your headaches that are causing you to go out of work?  Consider the following example:

Let’s say you’re already out of work due to another condition. I have had this situation before. I represented a veteran who had a back injury and was already out of work due to having surgery on his lumbar spine.  How does he show that his migraine headache rating should be increased to 50% when he has to show severe economic inadaptability?

You can do it the same way he did which is create a journal where you diary your headaches.  Take notes on:

  • How often you have the headaches;
  • How they feel;
  • How long they last;
  • What you do or don’t do while you are having a headache; and
  • What you do to relieve the pain

Usually, a journal like this might say that you had to miss work because of a headache.  If you are already out of work, the journal might say that you missed church or a child’s sporting even or picking your kids up from school.  It might also mention that you had to cancel certain appointments.

If you do this regularly, this will create a pattern that VA can look at.  This pattern will hopefully allow the VA decisionmaker to see that the migraine headaches are severe enough to produce severe economic inadaptability.  That should result in a rating at the 50% level if you meet the other criteria as well.

Will I automatically qualify for a 100% TDIU rating if I get a 50% migraine headache VA rating?

No.  A 50% migraine headache rating does not automatically qualify you for a 100% TDIU rating.  But, it should give you a good chance to qualify for that rating.

If you are at the 50% migraine headache level, you always need to consider whether you would qualify for a 100% rating based on individual unemployability.  Of course, you will probably not qualify for this rating if you are currently employed, unless you are working in sheltered employment or earning below the poverty line.

Why does a 50% migraine headache rating potentially translate into a 100% TDIU rating?

To grant you that 50% migraine rating, VA agreed that you have “very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.”

Now, that last little phrase should help you understand where I am going.  You have already proven to VA that your migraines produce severe economic inadaptability to qualify for the 50% rating.  That means you have shown VA that it is very difficult for you to maintain employment.

Man with his hands on his head with people in background Maybe you cannot find work.  Maybe you are being terminated again and again or having to resign due to how much missed time you have.

The heart of qualifying for TDIU is being unable to maintain competitive employment.  So, the 50% migraine headache rating can often prove two things:

  1. Entitlement to a 50% rating for migraines
  2. Entitlement to a 100% rating for TDIU

You do not automatically get this 100% rating.  TDIU is one of the most difficult VA ratings to prove.  VA could deny you even though you produce evidence of your unemployability.  If they do, be sure to look into filing an appeal.

Also, make sure you actually file the Form 21-8940 for individual unemployability.  VA may not consider TDIU sufficiently raised without this form being filed.  This could cost you a lot  in VA benefits you should have received for your inability to work.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Thank you Jason and Tina for everything you've done. Much appreciated. Great law firm! Great results!! Thank you!!! (Austin and Valerie)Valerie Mellinger
Travis and the team working on my VA claim are awesome. I’m happy with their integrity and diligence on working on my claim.Chris “Greybeard” Mullennix
I can't express enough how great it was to work with Perkins Studdard. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and keep you aware of everything happening with your case. Very friendly from the front office to Mr. Perkins. I would HIGHLY recommend Perkins Studdard!James Strickland
I recommend Travis for an Veteran that has been dealing with constant denial with claims. He also , cover cost for my nexus letter when I ran into financial troubles , that helped me win my case.edwin Cook
I highly recommend Travis Studdard to represent anyone looking to help with VA claims. The VA is very difficult to deal with when attempting to get benefits from service connected injuries, at least that's my experience. Travis and his team knows the VA system and the legal procedures to help you get what you deserve. Travis was kind and passionate with me throughout this process and therefore, I highly recommend this law firm to represent DAV's.Terry Hembree
Such an awesome team. They spoke to me like a person and helped me through every decision with knowledge.Kevin Collett
Highly recommend this firm. Did exactly what they said they were going to and fairly timely. The VA is sometimes extremely difficult to navigate but this took all the leg work away from me and got me the result I thought was fair.Andrew Boone
Amazing staff, very informed along with excellent communication. Within just a few weeks of work, Mr Studdard was able to make things happen that normally take years! Highly recommendJacob Sylvester
Perkins Studdard LLC is the place you need to be if you have a Workers Comp case going on! Mr. Jason Perkins and his staff get the results that you need. They work with you and fight for you.Coming from another lawyer my husband and I were really surprised and appreciated the communication and honesty and understanding throughout the entire process. My husband loves the videos because they held so much information and helped him understand what what was going on. Thank you so much for representing us!!!Deborah Tompkins
I highly recommend Jason Perkins and the Team at Perkins and Studdard. Jason did a wonderful job on my case and actually got me better results than what I was hoping for. He was always so patient with me and made sure I was understanding every process in my case. He never seemed to mind me asking questions and always gave me straightforward answers. My phone calls to him or his staff were promptly answered or returned and everyone was always so helpful, personable, and respectful. He kept me updated on all the details of my case and sent helpful videos for me to review that were very informative.Dru Vaughn

Related Posts


Font Size: