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Understanding VA Migraine Ratings: The Crucial Role of “Prostrating” Attacks

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Firm News

Breaking Down VA’s Rating Criteria for Migraines

The journey to comprehending how the Veterans Affairs (VA) rates various conditions can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re dealing with something as debilitating as migraines. It’s crucial to understand that the VA’s primary focus when assessing migraines is the intensity of the attacks: are they prostrating? In other words, are they so severe that they incapacitate you?

If your migraines are not prostrating – in the sense that you can still function despite them – the VA is likely to rate your migraines at 0%. While this rating acknowledges the existence of your migraines, it fails to recognize their severity.

Prostrating Attacks and Their Impact on VA Ratings

On the other hand, if your migraine attacks are prostrating, you could be assigned a 10%, 30%, or 50% rating by the VA. These percentages reflect the frequency and severity of your prostrating attacks, effectively highlighting the substantial impact they have on your daily life.

Understanding Different Rating Levels

The 10% rating typically applies to those experiencing prostrating migraines on average once every two months over the last several months. A 30% rating is allocated when prostrating attacks occur once a month over a similar time period. For veterans who endure very frequent, fully prostrating, and extended attacks, the VA offers a 50% rating, which recognizes the profound impact of these migraines on the veteran’s life and livelihood.

The Interplay of Frequency, Severity, and Ratings

The terms “very frequent” and “severe economic inadaptability” may sound complex but they have straightforward meanings. “Very frequent” implies a frequency higher than the once-a-month attacks associated with a 30% rating. “Severe economic inadaptability”, while seemingly dense, simply refers to a situation where your migraines significantly interfere with your employment.

Migraines, TDIU, and Employment

If you have prostrating attacks occurring at least once a month and you’re unable to work because of them, it’s possible you could be entitled to a Total Disability Rating based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). TDIU is a VA provision designed to help veterans who cannot maintain gainful employment due to their service-connected disabilities. It ensures that these veterans are paid at the 100% disability rate, even if their disability is rated less than 100%.

Navigating Examination Hurdles

Unfortunately, the VA examination process for migraines can sometimes be flawed. I’ve often encountered instances where a veteran’s reported prostrating attacks have been inaccurately classified by the examiner, resulting in a deeply unjust outcome.

To safeguard against such errors, it is essential to include a detailed written statement with your migraine claim. This statement should clarify that your migraines are prostrating, specify their frequency and duration, and explain how they hinder your ability to work. With this strategy, you can help ensure that your condition is correctly assessed and that you receive the appropriate rating and support you deserve.


If you need assistance with appealing a low rating for migraines, call me today at 800-955-8596 or schedule a free consultation — I am always happy to talk.