Superannuation TPD Claim Guide.
What is a TPD claim?
If you’re unable to work due to injury or illness, you may be entitled to make a TPD claim through your super fund. When you make a TPD claim you’re claiming a lump sum on top of your superannuation fund balance. Many Australians are unaware they’re entitled to this lump sum, but it can be a real lifeline if you’ve had to stop working.
However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of, and steps you can take to get your claim approved more quickly. In this article we explain everything your need to know about the TPD claim process, including information on TPD payout amounts and an example of a successful TPD claim story.
What is TPD insurance?
TPD stands for total and permanent disability. A total and permanent disability insurance policy provides you with a lump sum payment if you can’t work due to an injury or illness. If you have superannuation, it’s likely you have TPD insurance, although many Australians are unaware they’re covered.
Am I eligible to make a TPD claim?
Here are three questions that will help you understand if you’re eligible:
- Has an illness or injury stopped you from working for three or more months?
- Does it look like you won’t be able to return to work?
- Do you have superannuation?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you may be eligible to make a TPD claim. Different policies have different provisions and definitions, so you’ll need to check your policy to confirm that you qualify to make a TPD claim.
What is considered a total and permanent disability?
With some TPD claims in Australia, you don’t necessarily have to be unfit for all work to make a successful TPD claim.
It all depends on the definition of TPD in your policy. It might cover you for:
- Being unlikely to be able to return to work in your occupation
- Being unlikely to be able to return to work in any occupation
A specialist TPD lawyer will be able to look at your superannuation fund (or funds) and advise you about your TPD entitlements. Law Partners will provide free advice over the phone, so it’s worth calling to find out what you can claim.
Making a successful TPD claim.
How do you successfully claim TPD?
A lot of people who submit their own TPD claims end up abandoning their claims when the process becomes too complicated. However, there are steps you can take to help you make a successful TPD claim.
To start your claim, you’ll need to contact your superannuation fund, and they’ll typically ask you to complete a number of forms. After an initial assessment, the super fund will pass your TPD claim onto the insurer to do an assessment. The insurer will then make a decision about whether to approve or deny your claim.
The key to successful TPD claims is completing the application thoroughly and providing all the necessary documents, such as medical records or workers compensation files, to substantiate your claim. However, since most people have never lodged a TPD claim before, they end up in a position where they’re simply responding to ad-hoc requests from the superannuation provider or the insurer, which can be a lengthy and frustrating process. If you make even one error during this process it can seriously jeopardise the success of your claim.
Many people use a specialist TPD lawyer to manage their TPD super claim on their behalf and give themselves the best possible chance of success. At Law Partners, we have a team of TPD specialists who can handle your claim for you on a no win no fee basis, so you only need to pay us after you receive your lump sum.
Why would a TPD claim be denied?
Some common reasons for insurers rejecting TPD insurance claims include:
- A dispute over the evidence you’ve provided
- Not providing evidence that you meet the definition of disability in your policy
- Lodging your claim too late
- Your policy becoming inactive – this may be because you closed your account or the account has been inactive for some time
- Applying before the minimum waiting period
- Not meeting work history requirements
- Not meeting age restrictions
If your TPD claim has been rejected, you might still be able to get the insurer’s decision reversed. For example, if your TPD claim was rejected because it was lodged too late, there might be circumstances beyond your control that caused the delay. Speak to a specialist TPD lawyer to find out your options and whether you can get the insurer to reverse its decision.
What injuries and illnesses qualify for a TPD claim?
Here are a few examples of injuries, Illnesses and mental health conditions that can prevent people from working and might qualify for a TPD claim.
Examples of injuries that may qualify for a TPD claim:
- Carpal Tunnel
- Back injuries resulting in spinal fusions
- Brain injuries
- Loss of speech
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of the use of a limb
Examples of illnesses that may qualify for a TPD claim:
- Motor Neurone Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
Examples of mental health conditions that may qualify for a TPD claim:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar Disorder
The examples listed above can be used as a general guide. However, you’ll need to check the criteria in your TPD insurance policy to understand what you can claim for.
The TPD claim process.
How long do TPD claims take?
It usually takes 6-12 months for a TPD claim to be finalised.
Insurance companies generally assess TPD claims within six months. Some straightforward claims are finalised sooner, however with more complicated claims insurance companies often take longer than six months to make a decision.
Once the insurance company has made its decision on a TPD claim, the trustee of the superannuation fund must make their own separate assessment. This process usually takes between one and two months.
A Law Partners TPD claim specialist can make sure your claim is processed in the shortest possible time frame, by submitting a thorough, professionally prepared claim to the insurer on your behalf.
Can you claim more than one TPD payout?
If you have more than one TPD policy, you may be able to make multiple TPD claims – one for each policy. This is quite a common situation, as many people have multiple superannuation funds as a result of changing jobs over the years, and may have a TPD policy through each fund. Making a successful TPD insurance claim against one policy has no effect on any other TPD insurance you may have, but you’ll need to submit a separate claim against each policy.
How do I lodge a TPD claim?
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the TPD claim process:
- Identify all of your superannuation / TPD policies
- Check if they were valid when you were injured or became ill
- Take time to understand the approval criteria
- Submit a thorough application, including all documents and medical records to substantiate your claim
- Include a written submission explaining why the claim should be approved
- Follow up with the insurer to make sure they have everything they need
- Follow the dispute process if your claim is denied
Getting help with your TPD claim.
To make the claim process a lot easier and increase the likelihood of a positive result, many people use specialist TPD lawyers to manage their claims for them.
The key to making a successful TPD claim is completing a thorough application and providing all the necessary documents. The written submission explaining why your claim should be approved is also important. Specialist TPD lawyers have submitted hundreds of claims and know exactly what needs to be done to get your claim approved.
Specialist TPD lawyers can also check your superannuation funds and find out what cover you have. If you have multiple superannuation funds, they can help you make multiple TPD claims.
Other things you should consider include:
- Time limits for TPD claims
- Minimum wait periods
- Whether you meet work history requirements
- Your age
- Your evidence and whether it’s good enough
- Any exclusions or eligibility clauses in your TPD insurance policy
These are all things that a Law Partners TPD specialist can help you with, to give you the best possible chance of a successful TPD claim.
How much is a typical TPD payout from a superannuation fund?
TPD payout amounts typically range between $60,000 and $300,000, with many payouts being over $200,000. You can find your insured benefit amount on your superannuation member statement if it has an attached TPD policy.
If you make a successful TPD claim, you’ll generally be given the option to then withdraw this lump sum from your superannuation account together with your existing superannuation account balance. For more information, read our guide to superannuation TPD payouts.
Is a TPD payout considered taxable income?
A TPD payout isn’t classed as taxable income, but if you withdraw any part of your TPD payout from your super fund as a lump sum, you’ll have to pay “superannuation lump sum withdrawal tax”. The amount payable is different for everyone, and if you have multiple super funds, the amount will be different for each fund you make a withdrawal from.
Here’s a summary of how superannuation lump sum withdrawal tax is calculated:
- There’s no tax payable if you’re aged 60 or over.
- If you’re under 60, the amount of tax you’ll pay depends on your age and your “eligible service date” (usually the date you became a member of your superannuation fund).
- If you haven’t reached your preservation age, then some of the withdrawal amount will be tax free, and some will be taxed at 22%.
- If you have reached your preservation age (but you’re not yet 60), you can withdraw up to $225,000 tax free.
- If you withdraw more than this amount, a portion of the additional amount will be tax free, and the taxable portion will be taxed at 22%.
Do TPD payouts affect Centrelink?
A TPD claim payout has no impact on your Centrelink or other benefits (such as child support payments), because the lump sum is paid into your superannuation account. Superannuation is excluded from Centrelink means testing if you’re under the Centrelink Age Pension age.
However, if you withdraw any part of your TPD payout (or any part of your existing superannuation) balance, it may impact your Centrelink entitlements. Different Centrelink benefits are means-tested in different ways, so it’s a good idea to get professional financial advice on your entitlements before you access your TPD lump sum or superannuation account balance.
TPD claim story:
Mary was diagnosed with MS in 2015. Literally overnight her life became all about hospital visits and specialist appointments. But when she reached the point where she couldn’t work, Mary was suddenly faced with the reality of her financial future – and as a single mum with two kids, it looked pretty bleak.
It was actually Mary’s sister who asked if she had TPD cover through her super. She’d never heard of TPD and had to look it up – and to complicate matters, she had multiple super policies. Mary literally had a box full of ten years of unopened mail from her super funds, and was daunted by the prospect of going through them to work out what cover she had.
Mary saw an ad for Law Partners when she was Googling TPD so she called us and we took it from there. We went through her super statements and worked out Mary had five TPD policies. We got her a total payout of over $1 million, which has been life-changing for Mary and her children.
For more stories, read our article on TPD Claim Stories.
Whether you’re ready to make a claim, having trouble getting your claim approved or just considering your options, there’s no cost to speak to a TPD lawyer at Law Partners. We’d be happy to answer your questions on anything related to TPD claims.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law with expertise across medical negligence, public liability and motor accident compensation claims, in a career spanning the best part of two decades.
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