ARE YOU UNABLE TO WORK BECAUSE OF AN INJURY OR ILLNESS?
You may be able to claim Superannuation
and Insurance payments
If you can’t work because of a permanent injury or severe illness, you may be entitled to a lump-sum payment or other benefits from your Superannuation, TPD and Income Protection insurance policies. This is regardless of whether the injury or illness is related to your work.
Superannuation is compulsory for all workers to help fund their retirement. A portion of your salary, currently 10%, is paid by your employer into a super fund that invests the money on your behalf. Most super funds will also offer Total and Permanent Disability insurance (TPD), Income Protection (IP) and Life Insurance. These are not obligatory; however, you may have been signed up to these policies by default as part of your superannuation and may not be aware that you have them.
Some workers may have TPD and IP insurance through a life insurance policy provided by an employer, a union or purchased through a bank or other financial institution.
Total and Permanent Disability insurance (TPD)
TPD insurance provides financial security for you and your family if you can’t work due to becoming ‘totally permanently disabled’ from illness or injury. The benefit is usually paid as a one-off lump-sum payment to help pay for medical costs, rehabilitation, debts and your future cost of living.
You may qualify for a TPD lump sum payment if you meet any or all of these criteria due to sickness or injury:
- You’re unlikely to work in your occupation ever again
- You’re unlikely to work in any occupation again
- You’re unlikely to perform domestic duties ever again
- Permanent loss of your functional capacity
- Significant impairment to your whole body
- Loss of limbs and/or vision
- Unable to look after yourself ever again (activities of daily living)
- Permanent loss of intellectual capacity
How much will I receive?
Your annual superannuation member benefit statement should show the exact amount you are covered for. It will usually range from tens to hundreds of thousands. However, the terms and definitions of each policy are different and making a claim can be a complex and challenging process.
The superannuation experts at Carbone Lawyers will help you determine your eligibility and ensure you get your full entitlements.
How does Income Protection (IP) work?
If you’re unable to work due to partial or total disability, Income Protection insurance will continue to pay you a percentage of your pre-tax income for a specified time. Typically you will get up to 75% of your salary for the term of the policy (usually 2 to 5 years) until you are well enough to return to work or until you reach retirement age – whichever comes first. Your IP policy may also keep up with superannuation contributions while you are off work.
It is important to remember that each Income Protection policy has its definition of partial or total disability. The Superannuation experts at Carbone Lawyers will be able to advise you on your eligibility.
How soon after I stop work can I claim Income Protection?
Most policies have a waiting period of 30 to 90 days before you can make a claim.
Does my injury or illness need to be work-related to claim TPD or IP benefits?
No. The success of your claim depends on whether the injury or illness makes you incapable of doing your usual type of work, not how you acquired it.
Can I claim on my TPD or IP policies if I have received other forms of compensation?
In many cases, you will still be entitled to a lump sum or income protection in addition to any benefits you are receiving from compensation bodies such as WorkCover and TAC.
For example, if you’ve been injured in a car accident and can’t work, you may be able to receive TAC compensation and a TPD or IP benefit.
How long does the claim process take?
TPD claims can take anything from 6 to 18 months, while Income Protection claims normally take 1 to 3 months.
Will I have to be examined by a lot of different people to prove my incapacity?
That’s unlikely. You will need a report from your treating medical practitioners, and depending on your claim, you may need to undergo a medical examination by a doctor nominated by the insurance company. But that should be it.
What if I have Trauma Insurance?
Some people choose to take out additional insurance called Trauma or Critical Illness insurance to provide extra financial security for families or to cover financial obligations.
Trauma Insurance covers specific injuries such as head trauma, loss of a limb, loss of hearing or blindness. Or specific illnesses including heart conditions, neurological disorders, organ failure or transplants and blood diseases, and most types of cancers like melanoma, malignant tumours, leukaemia, and prostate or breast cancer.
Benefits are typically paid as a lump sum to help pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation or to allow you to reduce your work hours so you can focus on your recovery.
Each Trauma Insurance policy will have different definitions, terms and conditions which an experienced lawyer can help you navigate to ensure a successful outcome.
Accessing Superannuation before retirement.
There are some limited circumstances where the Australian Government will allow you to access your super early on compassionate grounds such as medical treatment, temporary or permanent disability or a terminal illness.
The early release of superannuation is subject to strict conditions and may impact your ability to claim other benefits. The team at Carbone Lawyers can advise you on your likely eligibility and the various options available to you.
Superannuation Death Benefit
Every superannuation fund has a death benefit paid to the nominated beneficiary, usually a surviving partner and dependants, or to the deceased’s estate. The payment includes the account balance plus any insurance benefits that apply.
The full benefit may also be paid out to an account holder suffering from a terminal illness.
Following the death of someone close to you, the process of claiming their superannuation and insurance benefits can be a painful and confronting experience. Carbone Lawyers will handle the whole claim process on your behalf.