13 15 15Call
No win, no fee.
Australia's Largest Specialist Personal Injury Firm
WINNER Personal Injury Law Firm of the Year

Australia's Largest Specialist Personal Injury Firm^

WINNER Personal Injury Law Firm of the Year

Stopped working due to mental illness? Learn how to claim a lump sum.

A woman suffering from a mental illness that's eligible to make a TPD claim.

Mental illness can be completely debilitating, and many people suffering from mental illness find it difficult, or even impossible to continue working. To make matters even worse, people with mental health issues often experience significant levels of stigma and discrimination. According to Beyond Blue, a common attitude is that people with anxiety or depression are ‘weak, not sick’. But people who understand mental illness know that you can’t simply ‘get over it’. 

Fortunately, in Australia there’s a financial safety net for people who are unable to work due to mental illness. Most superannuation policies include TPD (total and permanent disability) insurance, which pays you a lump sum if you have to stop work. 

In this article we explain everything you need to know about claiming a TPD lump sum for mental illness, including how to find out if you can claim, and how to get help with your claim. 

Can I claim a lump sum for depression? 

Any mental illness that prevents you from returning to work may qualify for a TPD claim for mental illness, and that includes depression. However, just being diagnosed with depression doesn’t mean you automatically qualify for a TPD claim. To be eligible for a TPD lump sum, you’ll need to have been diagnosed with depression that interferes with your cognitive, emotional, or social abilities to the point where you’re considered totally and permanently disabled under the definition in your TPD policy. 

As you can imagine, providing this proof to the TPD insurer isn’t simple, but read on to learn more about how to make a successful claim and how to get help with your claim. 

I can’t work because of my mental illness. What do I do? 

The first step is to get professional help and a diagnosis for your condition, and the best place to start is your GP. For more information on getting help refer to this article from the Black Dog Institute

If your mental illness has developed as a result of your job you might be eligible to claim workers compensation. For example, if you’ve developed PTSD from witnessing a traumatic event in the course of your job, and you need time off work or treatment, you can make a workers compensation claim. For more information you can read our workers compensation payout guide

If it’s unlikely you’ll be able to return to work at all, then a TPD claim for mental illness could be a real lifeline for you. 

Can I make a TPD claim for mental illness? 

Here are three questions that will help you determine if you can make a claim: 

  1. Were you working in the 12 months prior to your mental illness being diagnosed? 
  1. Have been unable to return to work since developing your mental illness? 
  1. Do you have superannuation? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then it’s likely you can make a TPD claim for mental illness. 

Your eligibility to make a TPD claim for mental illness isn’t affected by what caused your condition – the cause doesn’t need to be work-related. 

Free claim advice - graphic

Get FREE claim advice today.

A specialist lawyer will review your circumstances and tell you how much you can claim.

Which mental illnesses are covered by TPD insurance? 

Any mental illness that prevents you from returning to work may qualify for a TPD claim.  

Here are some examples of mental health problems that could prevent you from working: 

Depression: In its most severe form, depression and major depressive disorders can make it impossible to properly function, and this includes going to work and performing your job role. A TPD claim for depression requires a diagnosis that your capacity as a worker has been diminished or eliminated by your depression. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a disorder triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event or series of events over time. It can last for months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma as well as intense emotional and physical reactions. 

Persistent anxiety: Severe, persistent and disabling anxiety can make everyday tasks like leaving the house to go to work impossible. It can also cause breathing difficulties, sweating and fluctuations in heart rate. 

Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a common mental illness. During the early stage of the illness sleep, emotions, motivation, communication, and ability to think clearly may change. When people with Schizophrenia become unwell this is called an ‘acute episode’, and they may feel panic, anger, or depression. 

Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disease or manic depression. 

Panic attacks: Similar to PTSD, survivors of accidents that caused a life-changing injury or illness may have persistent panic attacks triggered by sights, sounds, or smells that remind them of their accident. 

Physical symptoms induced by mental illness: These can include headaches, dizziness, chest pain, nausea and muscle tension. Mental health conditions can also worsen conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and asthma. 

There’s no specific “list” of mental health conditions that qualify for a TPD claim – the key is that you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition that prevents you from continuing to work. 

How do I know if my insurance covers a TPD claim for my mental illness? 

TPD insurance covers all injuries, both physical and psychological. Physical injuries can often lead to some form of damage to mental health, and insurers understand this and account for it in their policies. 

In short, if you’ve got TPD cover under a superannuation fund, employment, a union, a financial institution or any other means, you’ll be covered for a TPD claim for mental illness. 

If you need help you can call Law Partners on 13 15 15 and one of our TPD specialists will review your cover and explain your full lump sum entitlements – it’s a free service. 

Does it matter what caused my mental illness? 

No, it doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t have to be work-related to qualify for a TPD claim. Whether your mental illness was caused by a traumatic event, has developed over time or come on suddenly and out of the blue, if it has been diagnosed and forced you to stop working then you can lodge a TPD. 

The main consideration when you make a TPD claim is that your capacity as a worker has been diminished or eliminated due to your mental illness. 

How do I make a TPD claim for mental illness? 

To make a successful claim, you’ll first need to contact your superannuation fund. They’ll begin by asking you to fill out a number of forms and carry out an initial assessment. Following this, your claim will be passed onto the insurer who will carry out their own assessment and come to a decision. 

The key to a successful TPD claim is completing a thorough application that provides all the necessary documents and evidence to substantiate your claim. That way, you spend less time going back and forth responding to requests from the insurer for more information and evidence and give your claim a much higher chance of being approved. 

Where can I get help with my TPD claim for mental illness? 

Although mental health is covered under TPD insurance, these claims can be harder to prove compared to physical injuries or illnesses. Claims can become complicated and drawn out as insurers may dispute your eligibility to claim or ask for further evidence to back up your claim. As a result, many people abandon their claims out of frustration. 

However, a TPD claim specialist can manage your claim on your behalf. A good TPD specialist will make sure your claim is prepared thoroughly to meet all your insurer’s requirements, includes all the required evidence, and is assessed and approved as quickly as possible. 

Law Partners is Australia’s largest specialist personal injury firm, and we have a team of TPD specialists who can manage your claim for you, wherever you are in Australia. We work on a no win no fee basis, and we win over 99% of our cases. 

Related articles.

Do I have a case?

Our senior lawyers will assess your case for free.