Army Veteran Wins TDIU Rating, 8 Years of Past-Due Benefits for Migraine Headaches

M.I. hired Friedman Disability in May of 2012 after the VA denied his claim for service connection for his debilitating migraine headaches. M.I. enlisted in the United States Army in 1996 and served for three years before being honorably discharged in 1999.

When M.I. came to Friedman Disability, our firm helped him start a headache journal to record the frequency and severity of his headaches and migraines. Our firm then obtained the veteran’s complete VA and private medical records to clearly establish the favorable medical evidence for his claim. Our firm also obtained lay witness testimony from coworkers who had seen the effects of M.I.’s headaches on his job performance, and obtained sworn declarations from his treating physician.

On the basis of these facts, in April of 2013 the VA issued a rating decision that granted M.I. service connection for his migraine headaches rated as 30 percent disabling, and refused his claim for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). Given that M.I. was entirely unable to work due to his headaches, our firm continued to work on the veteran’s behalf to ensure that he would get the full benefits to which he was lawfully entitled.

In addition to the evidence already submitted, Friedman Disability also obtained M.I.’s tax returns in order to demonstrate that he had been unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation (SGO) since 2013. Our firm also obtained further sworn declarations from M.I.’s friends who had seen the effect of his migraines on his life. After the VA again denied his claim for unemployability in 2015, our firm filed a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on the veteran’s behalf, highlighting all of the favorable evidence of record and demonstrating that the VA physicians who had preformed M.I.’s Competency and Pension (C&P) examination had identified a number of his migraine symptoms that warranted at least a 50 percent schedular rating, given that he had debilitating and prostrating migraines at least once per week.

As a result of these efforts, in May of 2018 the VA issued a favorable rating decision granting M.I. a 50 percent schedular rating for his migraines and a TDIU rating with a 2010 effective date. This resulted in an award of eight years of past-due benefits totaling more than $128,000 in addition to continuing current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.