Sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which is also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Some doctors state that diagnosing CFS is a diagnosis of exclusion. That is, they test you for the presence of other illnesses which may be causing your symptoms, and if all other explanations are excluded, the diagnosis is CFS. If you suffer CFS, you may be entitled to TPD benefits through your super insurance.
A diagnosis of “chronic fatigue syndrome” is different from experiencing chronic fatigue
CFS is an unpredictable illness. Symptoms can come and go and their impact on a person’s life can vary day to day and week to week. Also, a diagnosis of CFS is not to be confused with the symptom, chronic fatigue.
In patients who suffer from chronic fatigue, but have not otherwise been diagnosed with CFS, doctors can often use the chronic fatigue label to describe symptoms and this is confusingly conflated with a diagnosis of CFS. This can be confusing and the chronic fatigue (the symptom) may actually be caused by:
- a sleep disorder;
- anxiety or depression;
- fibromyalgia; or
- a number of other illnesses and may not be CFS at all.
Some of these illnesses may also permit you to claim TPD or income protection benefits. You should also contact us if you suffer any injury or illness which is preventing you from returning to work.
Clarifying symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS (the illness) is an illness in its own right and chronic fatigue can be a symptom of CFS but is not the sole symptom. Many people who suffer from CFS complain of the symptom called post-exertional malaise (PEM) which is when you experience a crash or collapse after doing physical or mental activities. Other symptoms of CFS may include difficulty thinking, difficulty sleeping, a sore throat, headaches, dizziness, ongoing and debilitating tiredness, or vertigo.
If you have CFS, you will have difficulty going about your life in the way that you did prior to becoming sick. Many people explain to us that something as simple as going grocery shopping is now very difficult or impossible. Other people describe being housebound due to their symptoms.
The cause of CFS is unknown in many people. Some people feel that their CFS is connected to a viral illness which they have suffered in the past (eg. Ross River fever or influenza). Other people described the onset of CFS in response to being exposed to a chemical or other pathogen (eg. mould).
TPD claims for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
No matter what the cause of your CFS, if you suffer from CFS, you should consider claiming any TPD benefits which you hold in an insurance policy (for example, in your superannuation).
Claims relating to CFS can be difficult, given the difficulty diagnosing CFS and determining the underlying cause of this illness. Also, the fact that some people recover from CFS, whereas others do not, can mean that doctors have difficulty predicting whether or not you can work again. This can also present issues for your TPD claim.
Get help from a TPD lawyer
Despite some of the difficulties, it is definitely worth persisting and investigating your options.
We are finding that insurers’ attitudes towards claims relating to CFS are slowly changing over time.
Therefore, if you are suffering from symptoms consistent with CFS, or you have been diagnosed with CFS, you should get in touch to discuss making a possible TPD claim with us. We are experts at TPD claims and acted for many people to successfully claim TPD benefits relating to CFS.
You can contact us directly by phone or email for free. It costs you nothing to find out what your rights and entitlements are.
Contacting Berrill & Watson
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