Chronic Migraines and VA Disability Compensation: How to Build a Strong Claim

Migraines are headaches but more severe and have the ability to disrupt your daily routine. With a migraine attack, you feel a throbbing pain in one or more sides of your head.

While you can go on about your day with headaches in most cases, migraines are much harder to deal with and can be prostrating (losing all strength).

There are two types of migraines:

  • Episodic
  • Chronic

Episodic migraine attacks can happen at an interval every couple weeks or months. However, a chronic migraine occur more frequently as they can happen at least 15 times a month.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, episodic migraines affect 12% of people in the United States, while chronic migraines are rarer, found in 3-5% of the population.

As a Veteran, chronic migraine attacks can leave you unable to work and have a normal life. If this is something you suffer from you may be eligable for VA disability compensation and benefits for your migraines.

You will find everything you need to know about VA disability benefits for chronic migraines here, including the migraine ratings and how to make the best claim.


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Eligibility for VA Disability Compensation for Chronic Migraines

Not every Veteran with migraines  qualifies for VA disability benefits.

The VA uses vague terms to describe who can receive a migraine rating for disability benefits. Nonetheless, we can get an idea of what they are looking for in a migraine claim.

Here are the eligibility criteria for receiving VA disability benefits for migraines:

1.   Having a Service Connection

The VA will only provide compensation for your migraines if the condition has resulted (directly or indirectly) from your time in service.

Service connection can happen in the following ways:

  • The migraine attacks are due to in-service injuries
  • Service duty has worsened your existing migraines
  • The migraines are the result of an existing service-connected condition

So, migraines can have a direct connection to service or can also happen because of a condition that has occurred from your time in service. In both cases, you can receive compensation.

2.   Experiencing Frequent Symptoms for a Long Time

Just having migraines won’t be enough to receive VA benefits. You have to be experiencing symptoms of migraine attacks at least once every two months for several months.

If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic migraines several days a month, you would qualify for this step.

Applying for VA Disability Compensation for Chronic Migraines

After gathering all pieces of evidence for your migraine attacks, you can apply for VA disability benefits.

You can file a claim for chronic migraine benefits in one of three ways:

  1. Online: The easiest way for you to apply. Just log in or sign up on the VA’s official website, complete the form, and send it to the VA. You will receive a mail once the VA has made a decision.
  2. By Mail: First, download the VA form 21-526EZ, print it and then fill it up. Now, you can mail it to the VA at this address: Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims Intake Center, PO Box 4444, Janesville, WI 53547-4444.
  3. In-Person: You can visit your nearby VA office to apply for a migraine claim in person.

VA Disability Rating for Chronic Migraines

While the VA assigns up to a 100% rating for many other disabilities, you can only get a maximum of 50% rating for migraines.

Rating Criteria

The VA uses vague terms to describe its rating criteria for migraines. These are the important vectors for the VA when rating someone’s migraine:

  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Severity of migraines
  • Economic inadaptability

Migraine Ratings

With chronic migraines, you are likely to get the highest disability rating for migraines, which is 50%, if the migraines affect your ability to work.

  • 0% Rating: A lower frequency of migraine attacks without any prostrating episodes results in a 0% disability rating. In this context, “less frequent” refers to migraines that occur fewer than every two months.
  • 10% Rating: If you experience prostrating migraine episodes regularly, you receive a 10% rating. The frequency is once every two months at this degree of impairment. Keep in mind that it will take several months for these attacks to occur at intervals of two months to receive a 10% rating.
  • 30% Rating: For a 30% rating, your migraines must be severe and frequent, similar to a 10% grade. The migraines, in this instance, should happen once a month for a few months.
  • 50% Rating: The maximum disability rating you may receive for migraines is 50%. It is given to veterans who experience severe, persistent migraine headaches that impair their capacity to work and make them economically unadaptable.

A 10% – 30 % rating is typical for migraine claims. If you think you received a lower rating than what’s right, you can appeal the VA’s decision and provide more evidence supporting your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I receive VA disability compensation for chronic migraines if I am still on active duty?

You have to be a veteran to receive VA disability compensation for migraines or any other disabilities.

Can I receive VA disability compensation for chronic migraines if I did not seek treatment during military service?

If your military service has worsened your migraines, you can receive VA disability benefits on the condition.

How long does it take to receive a decision on a VA disability claim for chronic migraines?

It may take over three months to get a decision from the VA.


When applying for a migraine claim, make sure to provide the necessary evidence to avoid being denied. Contact VA Disability Coach if you need help getting the correct rating for your migraines or need to appeal a VA’s decision.