Denied VA Migraine Claim: What to Do Next?

Unpredictable migraine headaches can disrupt your daily life, affect your work and bring other mental and physical complications.

A lot of veterans suffer from migraine attacks due to service-related injuries or disorders. And that’s why they apply for a VA disability claim to receive compensation.

Unfortunately, many migraine claims are denied by the VA. If you have faced a similar situation, it’s not time to give up just yet!

This article will discuss your next course of action after being denied for a VA migraine claim. So, whether your first migraine claim was denied or you didn’t get the right rating, here’s what you need to do next.


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Reasons for Denied VA Migraine Claim

There could be several reasons why your disability claim for migraine was denied by the VA. The reason for denial is usually stated by the notice provided by the VA. Nonetheless, any of the following reasons could be behind a migraine claim denial:

1.   Lack of Evidence

You will have to provide enough evidence about your migraines to be considered for disability benefits. Therefore, if you do not provide the necessary medical diagnosis documents and other important medical papers, your application will be denied.

2.   Incomplete Information on the Forms

This is one of the most common reasons veterans get denied. If you don’t fill out the forms provided by the VA properly or mistakenly write down inaccurate information, your claim will likely be denied. Therefore, make sure to fill out the VA forms carefully.

3.   Failure to Prove Service Connection

Your evidence may not have been enough to connect your migraines to your time in service. For example, the VA may disagree with your Nexus Letter or decide that your migraines do not have anything to do with your time in service.

4.   Missing Deadlines

Some veterans may miss deadlines to file an appeal. If you previously got denied your disability claim, you have a year to file an appeal. Therefore, it’s important to act quickly.

5.   Disagreement over Migraine’s Severity/Frequency

The VA may come to the conclusion that your migraine attacks are not frequent or severe enough to receive disability benefits. According to Veterans Affairs, migraines with prostrating severity and a frequency of at least once every two months allow you to get the lowest VA rating.

Types of Migraines

What to Do Next?

If your migraine claim has been denied by the VA, you have three options of approach for an appeal or a decision review. Here is the next course of action:

1.   File a Notice of Disagreement (NOD)

After your denial, you have a year to file a NOD with a VA form. Filing a NOD means that you are letting the VA know that you do not agree with their decision and you are ready to appeal that decision.

2.   Requesting a Higher Level Review

If you think that there has been an error from the VA’s side, you can ask a senior reviewer to have a look at your claim again.

With a higher-level review, you cannot provide newer evidence supporting your claim. It may take around 5 months for a senior reviewer to make a decision.

You can ask to have a call with the higher-level reviewer by requesting an informal conference online, by mail or in person.

3.   File a Supplemental Claim

You can file a supplemental claim after getting denied with more evidence for the VA to reconsider your application. You must provide more evidence with your supplemental claim otherwise it won’t be reconsidered.

Reconsideration Process for Denied VA Migraine Claim

If you think there has been an error by the VA, you can file for a reconsideration claim with either the Legacy Appeal System or Appeals Modernization Act (AMA).

During the reconsideration process, you should try to provide new evidence that can help solve the errors done by the VA. For example, if the VA disagrees with your migraines’ service connection, you can provide medical records of your time in service that can prove them wrong.

Importance of Keeping up with VA Migraine Claim Updates

VA policy changes can often happen, which can mean that your previously denied claim can now be reconsidered under the grounds of legal changes in VA’s rating.

Therefore, it’s important to keep up with new policy changes done by the VA and see if the new updates allow you to get benefits on your previously denied claims.

Tips for Making a Stronger VA Migraine Claim

On both your first claim and appeals, you should try to make it strong by providing valuable pieces of evidence on your migraine attacks. Follow these tips:

  • Provide relevant diagnosis records of your migraine attacks that include the frequency of such attacks and their intensity.
  • Get statements from your fellow veterans who can help you prove service connection.
  • Get a stronger Nexus Letter from a specialist in migraine attacks who can build a service connection better.

VA Migraine Claim Rating Criteria

The VA has a rating system for migraines similar to other disorders. However, unlike many other disabilities, the highest rating you can get for migraines is 50%.

These are the ratings you can get on your VA migraine claims:

  • 0% Rating: Less frequent migraine attack without any prostrating episodes
  • 10% Rating: Frequent and prostrating migraine attacks once every two months
  • 30% Rating: Frequent and prostrating migraine attacks once every month
  • 50% Rating: Prolonged and prostrating migraine attacks leading to economic inadaptability

A lot of veterans claim to get a lower disability rating for migraines than they should have gotten. If that happens to you, you can appeal the decision of the VA.

How to Appeal a Denied VA Migraine Claim Rating Decision

If you receive a lower rating on your migraine claim than what you should have, you can appeal the VA’s decision. Here’s how to do it:

File a NOD

A Notice of Disagreement is important to file as the first course of action when appealing for the rating decision. After filing a NOD, the VA will get back to you with what to expect next.

Appeal to a Decision Review Officer

You can now appeal to a DRO at your regional office. The DRO will review your appeal and decide whether or not the decision should be changed.

If the DRO does not change the VA’s decision, you can go to the Board of Veterans Appeals as the next step.

Appeal Directly to the BVA

Asking for the BVA to take a look at your claim can take a long time but it is the final step you can take for your appeal. You have to file this appeal through Form 9. After this appeal, you will get a letter from the BVA detailing your next steps.

VA Migraine Claim Denial and Mental Health

It can be hard to go through the process of claiming your disability benefits and getting denied. It can put you through a lot of emotional stress, and the process is even harder if you are doing it alone.

If you don’t know where to start with your process or want to try and avoid all the headache of improperly created claims, give VA Disability Coach a chance to help out!


A migraine claim can get denied or receive a lower VA rating. In these situations, you have a range of options to pick on what to do next. It can be helpful to get professional help from an attorney during this hard process.