Is financial support available to chronic pain sufferers?

Published 13 Jun 2018

Pain is a natural bodily response to damaging stimuli, although most people stop feeling distress once they recover from an illness or injury. However, pain is described as chronic or persistent when it lasts beyond a typical healing time of three months.

Around one in five people in the country suffers from chronic pain, according to the Australian Pain Management Association. Individuals who experience intense and unrelenting symptoms may be forced to take long periods of time away from the workplace or even prevented from ever returning to their jobs.

Fortunately, financial support is available for those who suffer from chronic pain, which can be caused by conditions like arthritis, diabetes and fibromyalgia.

Income protection payments

Chronic pain is not always a lifelong affliction and the symptoms may become less severe or well managed through medication. In these cases, income protection via an insurance or superannuation policy can provide people with temporary financial assistance until they have recovered enough to return to work.

Income protection is a monthly payment that typically covers up to 75 per cent of an individual's gross salary. Claimants only receive the money for a certain number of weeks before the policy runs out.

Medicare rebates

Chronic pain sufferers can receive Medicare rebates for allied health services if they have experienced persistent symptoms for six months or more. A GP must prepare chronic disease management plans, including a GP Management Plan (GPMP) and a Team Care Arrangement (TCA).

GPMPs and TCAs are designed to offer a coordinated approach to chronic pain care, with the latter specifically aimed at those with complex needs requiring multidisciplinary support. People who suffer chronic pain are also likely to be eligible for a number of other Medicare benefits.

Concession and health care cards

Various concession and health care cards are available depending on an individual's age, financial situation, occupational status and other factors. Each card offers different benefits, but they usually provide cost-effective access to particular health services and medications.

Disability support pension

Those who have suffered chronic pain for at least two years and are unlikely to ever return to work may be able to claim a disability support pension. There are various criteria that claimants must meet, including that a condition should be fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised.

Furthermore, chronic pain could also be classed as a total and permanent disability (TPD), entitling sufferers to a lump sum payment for a range of costs relating to their inability to return to work.

If you would like to discuss chronic pain with regards to income protection and TPD claims, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers to see how we can help you secure crucial financial support.

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