VA Disability Ratings For Headaches/Migraines Claims

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 inadaptability50%
Migraine headaches with characteristic prostrating attacks occurring on an average once a month over last several months30%
Migraine headaches with characteristic prostrating attacks averaging one in 2 months over last several months10%
Migraine headaches with less frequent attacks0%

What 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?

This definition 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.” 

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.

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