Q&A: Financial and wellbeing support for migraine
By: Steph Weatherley, Senior Information and Support Services Advisor, The Migraine Trust
In this blog, we answer common questions about financial and wellbeing support for people with migraine that we hear on The Migraine Trust helpline.
Am I entitled to financial support?
You may be able to claim welfare benefits if you have a migraine condition, benefits are dependent on your individual circumstances. If you are unable to work or work full time, you may be able to claim Universal Credit, a government payment to help with living costs. If you are employed but are off sick from work due to your migraine, you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay.
If you have difficulties with daily living and/or getting around because of your condition, you may be able to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is for those aged between 18 and state pension age.
There is also Attendance Allowance (for people over state pension age) which helps with extra costs if you need someone to look after you because of your condition. If someone cares for you, they may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance or get practical help from your local council.
What do I do if my claim is unsuccessful?
If your claim for any benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is unsuccessful, you can appeal this if you disagree with their decision. You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration to explain why you think the decision is wrong and include a copy of any evidence that may support your case (such as a letter from your doctor or other medical professional). The benefits office within DWP that originally dealt with your claim will look at the decision again and then send you a mandatory reconsideration notice to let you know the outcome. If you disagree with the outcome, you can appeal to an independent tribunal. The notice will tell you how to make an appeal and the process for this.
The appeals process can be stressful, so it may be helpful to get support with your appeal. You can contact a local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice, or call Scope on 0808 800 3333 for local disability advice. Your local authority may have a welfare rights service that can advise you on the benefits that you’re entitled to.
Can The Migraine Trust support me with my benefits claim?
The Migraine Trust does not have a welfare benefits adviser, but we can direct you to the appropriate support agencies.
We recommend that you speak to a welfare benefits advisor at any of the following organisations for advice and support:
- Your local Turn2us charity – a charity that helps people with welfare benefits queries (turn2us.org.uk)
- Your local Citizens Advice (adviceguide.org.uk)
- Scope – a charity that provides local disability advice (scope.org.uk)
You could also request to speak to a Disability Employment Advisor at the Job Centre about how migraine affects you. A doctor or headache nurse at a headache clinic may be able to advise you whether your migraine is likely to be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
Are there any support groups I can attend?
There are very few support groups for people with migraine in the UK. Some headache clinics do run groups and support sessions for patients. Some local areas run groups for people with long-term conditions, which can include migraine and pain conditions. There are also a few migraine forums on HealthUnlocked (which is an online support community) and Facebook. PainConcern runs an online forum for people to share their experiences, which some people with migraine find helpful.
Migraine has a huge impact on wellbeing, and the nature of trying to find a treatment is very challenging for a lot of people which can add to the anxiety and stress. Many people with migraine find support such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or other psychological approaches helpful. We have a blog from a Clinical Psychologist about the benefits of support for people with migraine, and also some suggestions for how to access support. We also have a helpful blog on migraine and anxiety which you may find useful.
If you or a loved one has questions about migraine or is in need of support, you can contact us via our free helpline on 0808 802 0066 or visit migrainetrust.org/contact-us. You can also chat to us online through our new live chat service at migrainetrust.org.