Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the VA migraines rating criteria with 38 CFR Part 4 as our guide.
We’ll also examine the primary (and confusing) differences between the 30% and 50% VA rating for migraine headaches.
VA ratings for migraines depend upon the Frequency, Severity, and Duration of symptoms, and more specifically, the “prostrating” nature of the migraine and whether your headaches impact your ability to work.
According to the FY 2020 VBA report to congress, Migraines were the #9 most commonly claimed and service connected VA disability condition for new compensation recipients.
You might also be interested in the following posts & video about VA ratings for migraine headaches:
- 6 Tips to Increase Your VA Rating for Migraines
- How to Get a 50 Percent VA Rating for Migraines
- Top 10 Most Common VA Disability Claims
A little-known fact for veteran claimants is that there are over 150 different types of headaches although the most common include Tension Headaches, Migraine Headaches, Cluster Headaches, Sinus Headaches, Post Concussive Headaches, and Post Traumatic Stress Headaches.
For VA rating purpose, ANY type of headache is eligible to be rated at either 0%, 10%, 30%, or 50% depending upon your medical diagnosis, whether its service connected, and the severity of your headache symptoms.
Okay, now let’s jump into the CFR 38 rating criteria and chart for migraine headaches.
VA Migraines Rating – 38 CFR Criteria
Migraine headaches are evaluated and rated under 38 CFR § 4.124a, Miscellaneous Diseases, Diagnostic Code (DC) 8100.
Accordingly, the DC 8100 Migraines VA Rating Criteria is as follows:
- 50 percent VA rating for migraines is warranted with very frequent, completely prostrating, and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.
- 30 percent VA migraines rating is warranted with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month, over the preceding several months.
- 10 percent VA disability rating for migraines is warranted with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging once per two months, over the preceding several months.
- 0 percent migraines VA rating is warranted with less frequent attacks than the 10 percent rating criteria.
Migraines VA Rating Chart from 0% to 50%
|DC 8100, VA Migraines Rating Criteria:||Rating (%)|
|Migraine headaches with very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability||50%|
|Migraine headaches with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months||30%|
|Migraine headaches with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months||10%|
|Migraine headaches with less frequent attacks||0%|
What the Heck is a “Prostrating” Migraine Headache?
Note that neither the rating schedule nor the courts have ever defined the term “prostrating” migraine.
So, what the heck does it mean?
The best definition we could find for “Prostrating” comes from Dictionary.com:
“To lay oneself flat on the ground face downward, especially in reverence or submission.”
Prostrating can be further defined as weakness, fatigue, distress, exhaustion, illness, or functional loss, for example:
“To reduce (someone) to extreme physical weakness.”
What Does “Severe Economic Inadaptability” Mean?
The term “severe economic inadaptability” is also not defined in VA law.
What’s particularly important to note is that the Courts have held that nothing in DC 8100 requires that the claimant be completely unable to work to qualify for a 50 percent rating for migraines.
In this regard, it was explained by the Court that if “economic inadaptability” were read to import unemployability, a claimant would be eligible for extra-scheduler TDIU claim rather than just a 50 percent rating.
The Court has discussed the notion that consideration must also be given as to whether the disability could produce severe economic inadaptability, regardless of whether the condition was actually causing such inadaptability.
In this regard, VA conceded that the words “productive of” could be read to mean either “producing” or “capable of producing.”
30 Percent VA Rating for Migraines Criteria
At the 30% VA rating for Migraines, the law lists headaches “with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months.”
Note the keyword of “prostrating,” meaning you’ve had to lay down or been reduced to extreme physical weakness.
You can also see that the 30% rating has prostrating attacks that occur roughly one time per month over the past several months.
There is NO mention of any functional or economic loss—this is very important to understand!
Thus, if your migraine headaches do NOT affect your ability to work, you probably don’t meet the 50% rating criteria.
50 Percent VA Rating for Migraines Criteria
At the 50% rating, the law describes headaches “with very frequent completely prostrating and prolonged attacks productive of severe economic inadaptability.”
Note the keywords of “very frequent completely prostrating,” meaning you’ve had to lie down more often, and the Migraine headaches could last for extended periods of time.
You might have also noticed that the 50% rating introduces the concept of “severe economic inadaptability.”
We do know, however, that the term “severe economic inadaptability” refers to a veteran’s inability to work, but NOTHING in the rating criteria requires that a veteran be completely unable to work in order to qualify for a 50% rating.
Therefore, a veteran can qualify for a 50 percent VA rating for Migraines and still be working or able to work.
For example, perhaps you have severe Migraines on a weekly basis, and you’ve used all your sick leave at work and it’s now affecting your ability to produce and earn a living, but you’re still working.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen C&P examiners and VA Raters get this wrong ALL THE TIME!
You might actually qualify for the 50% rating, but are stuck at either 10% or 30%.
WATCH NOW: How to Get a 50% VA Disability Rating for Migraine Headaches
Do You Need Help with Your VA Claim for Migraines?
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About the Author
His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim in less time.
Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability, and has served more than 6,000,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).