Published 08 Feb 2017
Suffering a total and permanent disability (TPD) can have a significant effect on your finances, particularly if the affected individual is the main money earner in the household and they are unable to work again.
While many people understand that serious accidents and injuries can lead to TPDs, were you aware that debilitating mental health conditions are also often included in some insurance and superannuation policies?
This means that if you are diagnosed with a mental health problem that prevents you from re-entering the workplace, you could be eligible to make a TPD claim.
However, not every policy lists the same conditions, so please check your paperwork closely to ensure you have ample coverage. Let's take a closer look at some of the most common mental health illnesses that are included within TPD policies.
Figures from beyondblue show that approximately 1 million Australians suffer from depression at any one time in the country. There are various types of depression, but common symptoms include irritability, withdrawing from friends and family, and feelings of worthlessness and being overwhelmed.
People often also experience physical symptoms such as weight loss or gain, fatigue, sleeping problems and headaches. Depression varies wildly in severity, but in particularly serious cases, you may find it impossible to live a regular life, including maintaining a job.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The Australian Psychology Society estimates around 4.4 per cent of the nation suffer from PTSD over a 12-month period. Around 50 to 70 per cent of people are exposed to a potentially traumatic event (PTE) during their lifetime, which can include car accidents, warfare or sexual assaults.
Of those who experience a PTE, between 15 and 25 per cent will develop PTSD, with the condition more prevalent among people who are frequently exposed to traumatic incidents, such as police officers or soldiers.
Mental health disorders that are categorised by excessive worrying often result in an anxiety diagnosis. SANE Australia claims 14 per cent of Australians suffer from these conditions each year, with women more affected than men.
Severe anxiety episodes can immobilise a person, and symptoms may include shortness of breath, sweating, a pounding heart, muscle tension and feeling faint. People may also have accompanying conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Unfortunately, mental health complaints are among the most commonly rejected TPD claims due to the difficulty of diagnosis and the fact there is usually fewer physical symptoms.
Nevertheless, you could be eligible for a lump sum payment, so please get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers for more information.