Matthew Hill: Hi, this Matthew Hill and Carol Ponton from Hill & Ponton for our VA video blog and today, we want to talk to you about migraines and making sure you’re getting the correct rating. One of the ways to make sure you’re getting the correct rating is making sure you file for secondary issues. We have been representing vets, Carol’s been representing social security clients for 40 years and-
Carol Ponton: Veterans for 25.
Matthew Hill: Twenty-five, and when we see migraine claims, we rarely see them without depression. Depression is a huge secondary claim we see.
Carol Ponton: Right, it’s terrible because the people can’t rely on doing anything. They can’t be reliable for showing up at their kid’s birthday party. They can’t be reliable for showing up at work. They isolate themselves to get away from the noise that makes the migraines worse and this leads to terrible depression. Under the VA law, the migraines have caused a secondary condition, depression. A lot of the veterans don’t realize you need to file for this. This is another way to get you 100% under the VA law for migraines.
Carol Ponton: If you have migraines that have caused depression, you need to file for depression secondary to migraines.
Matthew Hill: Right, and on that, the highest rating you can get on the VA schedule for migraines is 50%, and you can’t go above that on the schedule itself. With what we see, if somebody has a 50% rating for migraines, they not only have depression but they have severe depression.
Carol Ponton: Severe depression.
Matthew Hill: Just like Carol was saying, isolating, maybe being angry with others or just not wanting any social contact.
Carol Ponton: You don’t have any patience, the pain is just too bad. Usually the depression is severe, at least a 70% rating and then you have a really easy way to get unemployability.
Matthew Hill : By that, if you have just a migraines claim and you’re 50%, you can be found 100% through unemployability but it’s hard and it takes a long, long time, but if you have a secondary condition especially dysthymia or depression, as Carol said, a lot of the symptoms that you would have would equal at least a 50 if not a 70% rating for the depression alone. Those two combined together, they don’t combine to 100%, but what they do give you is a solid basis for attacking-
Carol Ponton: For getting unemployability at the regional office at times.
Matthew Hill: Fast.
Carol Ponton: Faster, much faster.
Matthew Hill: Just remember, and this is for loved ones as well, if you’re suffering from migraines, even if you don’t treat for it, there’s probably a high likelihood that depression is there too because it’s so isolating and it can destroy your life. To not be depressed frankly, would be abnormal.
Carol Ponton: Rare.
Matthew Hill: Yeah, the normal thing is, is that it does cause depression so you should be compensated for that. Thank you for joining us.
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