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Superannuation TPD claim guide.

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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. In this article we explain everything you need to know to make a successful TPD claim, including information on the TPD claim process, TPD payout amounts and successful TPD claim stories.

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.

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Am I eligible to make a TPD claim?

If you’ve been off work for three or more months due to injury or illness, with no prospect of returning to work, then it’s possible that you’re 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.

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What is considered a total and permanent disability?

As a general rule, if you’ve been unable to work due to an injury or illness for an extended period (usually more than three months) with no expectation to return to work, then you may satisfy the definition of TPD that applies to your policy.

Your TPD policy might cover you for:

So with some TPD claims in Australia, you don’t necessarily have to be unfit for all work to make a successful TPD claim.

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 before you make a claim.

Making a successful TPD claim.

Two colleagues discussing work in an office with potential hazards that could cause result in a workers compensation claim.
Two colleagues discussing work in an office with potential hazards that could cause result in a workers compensation claim.

How do you successfully claim TPD?

To make a successful TPD 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’re 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. Some TPD lawyers will handle your claim on a no win no fee basis, so you only need to pay the legal fees after you receive your lump sum payment. For more information, read our no win no fee lawyers guide.

Why would a TPD claim be denied?

Some common reasons for insurers rejecting TPD insurance claims include:

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 some examples of injuries, Illnesses and mental health conditions that might qualify for a TPD claim. This isn’t a complete list, but includes some of the injuries, illnesses and conditions that can prevent people from working.

Examples of injuries:

Examples of illnesses:

Examples of mental health conditions:

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The TPD claim process.

Woman suffering from a psychological injury sustained in the workplace.
Woman suffering from a psychological injury sustained in the workplace.

How long do TPD claims take?

Generally speaking, it 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 of the claim. This process usually takes between one and two months.

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:

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, and 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:

These are all things that the best TPD lawyers can help you with and improve your chances of a successful TPD claim.

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TPD payouts.

How much is a typical TPD payout from a superannuation fund?

TPD lump sums typically range between $60,000 and $300,000 but can be higher. 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:

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’s 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 $1million, which has been life-changing for Mary and her children.

For more stories, read our article on TPD Claim Stories.

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