Are you unable to work due to injury or illness? You may be able to access your Superannuation early. You also do not need to prove that the injury or illness was caused by someone else or that it is work related.
Most superannuation funds provide insurance cover for Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD), Death or Income Protection. You may also be able to access your superannuation account balance prior to the usual retirement age if you are permanently incapacitated from working.
Turner Freeman Lawyers can help you with your Superannuation, Disability & Insurance compensation claims. We can also help you contest, challenge or dispute a rejected claim on a 'No Win No Fee' basis.
Our Superannuation, Disability & Insurance claims department is led by Adam Tayler, who has over 20 years experience in all facets of Superannuation matters. Adam and his team have helped many individuals and businesses in disputes with insurance companies and will help you take the worry out of making a claim.
We can assist you in all of the following areas:
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Claims
Income Protection or Total and Temporary Disablement (TTD)
Life Insurance or Death Benefits
Disability Claims Litigation
Contact us today on 1800 683 928 or via our online enquiry form.
I have suffered an injury and cannot work. Can I claim?
I have suffered an injury and unable to work. Can I claim?
When you are injured or ill and unable to work or enjoy your usual daily activities you may have insurance coverage that you are not aware of. If you are the dependent of a deceased loved one you or the deceased’s estate may also be entitled to claim on insurance.
This can be in the form of total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance attached to your superannuation, mortgage or other loan insurance, income protection or life insurance or other occupational specific cover.
These benefits are commonly available in addition to any workers or similar compensation you may have received for the injury or illness.
Unlike other claims, when claiming for total and permanent disablement or life coverage you do not need to prove that the injury or illness was caused by someone else or that it is work related. You just need to show that the injury or illness is significant and has affected your ability to earn an income or has seriously impeded your ability to engage in your daily activities.
We are happy to assist and on a speculative or No Win – No Fee basis. You initial consultation with us is obligation free. You will also be dealing with a Partner or Senior Lawyer in the firm not a junior lawyer or paralegal.
Types of Claims
What can I claim?
There are 4 broad areas of insurance coverage that may assist when you become injured or ill or when a loved one dies.
- Total & Permanent Disability (TPD)
- Income Protection (TTD)
- Life Insurance
- Accident and Trauma
For some specific occupations including Commonwealth or State public servants and members of the military there is also a range of additional benefits available.
If you are injured while travelling you may have coverage through travel insurance. If you have a mortgage or other loan you may also have loan insurance.
What is Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)?
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover
When you are injured or ill and unable to work or enjoy your usual daily activities, you may have insurance coverage that you are not aware of through your superannuation. If you are the dependent of a deceased loved one, you or the deceased’s estate may also be entitled to claim on TPD insurance via a post mortem or after death claim.
There are strict time limits that apply to TPD claims, so call us today on 1800 683 928 or enquire online.
What does TPD mean?
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) means that you cannot work in your usual occupation or any other reasonably suited role because of a mental or physical disability, sickness or ill health. It does not mean that you cannot work at all; it refers to that you are unable to perform your job that fits your experience, skill and ability. For example, if you are a brick-layer and hurt your back significantly that you no longer able to perform that job, you can still claim TPD, even though you could still undertake an office job.
TPD does not mean “never work again”. Even if you are able to be re-trained into some other area and continue working in the future, you may still have a claim. TPD insurance can be attached to your superannuation, mortgage or other loan insurance. You may also have other occupational specific cover. For example in the building, construction or contract cleaning industries, portable long service leave can be claimed in the event of TPD. It provides financial benefits if you are no longer able to work in your usual occupation due to mental or physical disability or ill health.
Do I qualify for TPD?
To receive TPD benefits, you will need to demonstrate that the injury or illness has prevented you from being able to work and perform your usual duties. You will also need to show that you cannot continue to work in any other occupation that fits your skills, training or education.
To claim for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) you do not need to prove that the injury or illness was work related or was due to someone else’s negligence. For example, if you are suffering from cancer or a mental health condition and cannot work, you will still be entitled to receive these benefits. You will just need to demonstrate that the injury or illness is significant and has stopped you from earning a wage or income, or has seriously hindered your ability to carry out your daily activities.
What benefits will be paid?
Benefits you may be able to claim include Income Protection, Accident and Trauma and/or Life Insurance. Depending on what Insurance coverage you have and what is included in your Superannuation policy you may receive these benefits as a lump-sum or monthly payments.
The amounts you may be entitle to will vary, depending on the type of insurance cover you have and how much you are insured for. This information is usually included in the fine print of your policy or statements.
These benefits can be claimed in addition to any Centrelink or Workers Compensation payments you may have received for the injury or illness.
Do I need to provide evidence or proof?
To claim for TPD you must have medical evidence proving that you meet the criteria. Doctors and other medical practitioners need to be carefully briefed about the definition involved and how the definition should to be interpreted.
Other evidence you may need is things like education, training and experience. You will need to show why you cannot perform any other past jobs that you have done previously that might be considered suitable. For example, you may be physically and medically capable of working in an office based role; however do you also have the ability and experience to obtain a job that is suitable to you? Other factors that may need to be considered are whether there is employment available where you live and if there are any other barriers that could be stopping you from getting a job.
Whilst you might be able to get a job are you able to hold onto employment on an ongoing basis due to the injury or illness? If the answer is No, then you may still be entitled to claim for TPD.
To find out if you can claim TPD, call us on 1800 683 928 or enquire online.
What is Income Protection (TTD)?
What is Income Protection, Salary Continuance or Total & Temporary Disablement (TTD) cover?
If you are temporarily cannot work because of a disability, injury or illness, you may be able to claim Total and Temporary Disablement (TTD) benefits. Salary continuance or income protection benefits can also provide financial support if you are unable to work.
Can I claim?
To claim income protection you will need to provide medical evidence of your illness or disability has stopped you from working or earning an income. Your disability does not need to be caused by work.
Income protection benefits are only paid for a defined period, usually between 2 to 5 years. Depending on your coverage, there may be some policies which will pay the benefits up to age 65 or older. The policy will generally pay a percentage, commonly 75%, of your usual wage or salary. This, of course, varies from case to case, so it is important that you enlist the help of a legal professional to determine your correct entitlements.
You may also be able to claim even if you are able to perform a different job to your usual occupation and it is costing you money. For example if you are only able to work part-time and you were employed as a full-time employee prior to the disability, injury or illness.
What is the waiting period?
There are always waiting periods that apply before you are able to claim payments. These waiting periods can differ significantly depending on your policy, and generally can be anywhere from 14, 30 or 90 days, or even longer.
How much will I get?
This will depend on the coverage you have and anything that is listed as exclusion on the fine print of your policy statement. Things that can be excluded from the payments may include overtime or penalties, along with other allowances. It is always crucial to check that you are getting paid the right amount.
What is a Life Insurance or Death Benefit?
When a loved one passes away, the hardship following their death is often compounded if they were a source of income for their dependants.
What is Life Insurance or Death Benefit cover?
All super funds in Australia offer benefits in the event of a loved one’s death. If you were a spouse, child, legal personal representative or financially dependent on someone who has passed away, you may be entitled to their super contributions and connected insurance benefits. These benefits are designed to ease the burden of financial strife at this difficult time.
Are there any time limits?
It is recommended that you act to retrieve these benefits as quickly as possible, with the help of a qualified solicitor, to ensure the super fund pays all relevant entitlements.
It is possible for super fund members to nominate the beneficiary to whom a payment should be made. This can be done in a binding or non binding way. A binding nomination must be followed by the super fund provided the nomination remains current and valid at the time of death.
Can binding nomination be disputed?
Some binding nominations can be disputed. For example in some funds require the nomination to be made to a dependant, and the definition of dependant will potentially change from fund to fund. An ex wife who met the definition at the time of the nomination when married to the member may not meet the definition after a divorce or separation.
Similarly a beneficiary who was not family but simply financially dependent on a member at the time of nomination and who was no longer financially dependent at the time of death may no longer meet the required definition.
Time limits for disputing death benefits
There are strict time limits that apply to disputing decisions made about the distribution of death benefits so you should seek urgent advice especially if you have received notification of a claim decision from the super fund.
Disability Claims Litigation
What is Disability Claims Litigation?
There are a number of different types of disputes that may arise from a superannuation, disability or insurance claim. These may include:
- Your disability or insurance claim was rejected by the fund or insurer
- The fund or insurer is taking too long to make a decision on your claim
- Your employer failed to make super contribution on your behalf and therefore you were not covered
- You received a bad or negligent advice from your financial advisor or another professional
There are a number of options available to you to so that you receive your entitlements within a reasonable time.
We can help you start court proceedings so that the insurer or superannuation fund is forced to make a decision as instructed by the courts which may also allow you to recover any interest you should have been paid as a result of the delay.
If your employer has failed to make superannuation contribution on your behalf and you injured yourself or became ill or sick and in turn you were not covered, you may be able to claim against them for your loss in this regard.
For more information on court proceedings and to find out if you have the right to claim call us on 1800 683 928 or enquire online. We can help you challenge, contest or dispute a rejected claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis so you will never be out of pocket no matter what the outcome is.
Do I need a lawyer?
If you are concerned about your working future due to your injury and if you wish to find out if your claim is worthwhile to pursue, the short answer is yes. In reality and from our experience from seeing first hand the bad outcomes that people achieve without lawyers, the answer is absolutely yes.
How can a lawyer help me with my claim?
A good lawyer will focus on whether he or she can justify their involvement in the case so that you can be confident that the benefits of using a lawyer will outweigh or far outweigh the legal costs.
If you have a very serious injury which clearly precludes you from working and will do so forever you may not or probably don’t need to see a lawyer. However, your first consultation with us is free so we advise all our clients and potential clients to seek advice and at the earliest possible time to remove any doubt or worry about your rights or where you stand.
What is the claim process?
Superannuation claims process
Turner Freeman Lawyers make the process of investigating your rights, forming a plan and eventually enlisting the help of a lawyer that little bit easier. Here is a brief outline of how the process works:
- Do some quick research - It’s always wise to do a little reading before embarking on anything that involves Super Funds or insurance companies.
- Have a free consultation - Calling or sitting down with a legal expert is an extremely important step to take when considering making an application for early super payment or an insurance claim. They will be able to gauge where you stand, what the best course of action is, and what the likely outcome will be.
- Let Us take care of the rest - Once you have worked everything out with your lawyer, they will handle everything, including helping you fill out the forms and letting you know what else you may need to supply to build your claim. If there are any outstanding tasks you need to complete (e.g. attending a medical examination), these will be completed before submitting the paperwork
Once everything is submitted, all you need to do is wait. Applications can take between weeks up to several months to process depending on the complexity of the case. Knowing that everything has been handled by a highly qualified, experienced professional should give you peace of mind. Only if your claim is successful will Turner Freeman Lawyers require a fee.
Is there a time limit to lodging my claim?
Time limits to lodging claims
This varies from fund to fund, and from insurer to insurer. While it is sometimes possible to lodge your application as soon as you stop working, you might alternatively have to show at least six months off work due to your circumstances. It is recommended that you seek legal help to ensure you are meeting all the correct requirements.
If I go ahead with a claim how long will it take and how much will it cost?
Time limit for receiving payments
In most cases, claims are finalised and paid out within two (2) to three (3) months (sooner for income protection claims), but this depends on the complexity of the claim and whether you have met all the criteria.
If we advise you that you have reasonable prospects of success and that the claim is economically worthwhile to purse, we will send you a proper written advice and a proposal. Our proposal will set out, in plain English, a realistic estimate of how long we believe your case will take to resolve and the likely cost.
Generally speaking, most claims are able to be resolved within 2 to 3 months from when the claim starts. If the case goes to trial (which is highly unlikely) this can add a further 6 to 12 months to the time estimate.
If your case has to go to court, it will cost more than if it is accepted first up by the super fund or settles at an early stage. The more work which is done results in higher fees; however, we are always doing whatever we can to keep costs as low as possible. All of this is explained in our written advice along with realistic and reliable fee estimates.
Our fee estimates are usually at least 20% lower than our competitors from our past experience.
Also, we agree to charge a fixed fee including all expenses for the initial stage of the claim up to receipt of a decision from the super fund so you have certainty as to what your costs will be.
How much will I get?
This will depend on the type of insurance cover you have and how much you are insured for. This information is usually included in the fine print of your policy or statements.
What if I have multiple super accounts or insurance policies?
Multiple accounts and multiple insurance policies
As long as each of your current funds or accounts are independent from the other, you should be able to claim on any/all of them at the same time.
We will also investigate all accounts and you may be entitled to rollover some accounts into one to make the process of accessing your money simpler. We will also refer you to a professional financial adviser if you do not have one to make sure your superannuation investment is maximised and protected. Please note we do not provide financial advice and it is prudent to seek advice from a qualified professional on financial or tax matters to do with your superannuation.
Will I have to pay tax on the money I receive?
Tax on the amount you receive
If you are withdrawing your funds before your Preservation Age (the ‘lockout’ age on your super policy – usually 55), you are likely to be taxed on it. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as in cases of terminal illness. It is a good idea to contact a finance or tax professional and go through your policy and your circumstances so you know where you stand.
Will my claim affect other benefits such as Centrelink or Workcover?
Centrelink and WorkCover benefits
These types of claims do not usually impact on Workcover benefits, however if you have already received Workcover benefits then your entitlement to super insurance may be reduced as a result. In some cases you can receive both; it just depends on your policy.
Because any money received from your superannuation can count as income, payments may affect how much you receive from Centrelink. You should contact your legal professional or Centrelink to find out what impact the claim will have on your benefits.
What happens if my claim is refused?
If your claim is rejected
It is possible to appeal a decision that goes against you, either in court or by lodging a request for reconsideration. It is extremely important that you call upon an experienced, expert lawyer to help you through whatever action you decide to take. It is also possible to lodge a complaint with an industry tribunal or the financial ombudsman service, if you believe you have been unfairly treated.
What if I don't meet these criteria? Can I access my Super early?
You may be able to access your Superannuation early from a Financial Hardship
The law states that you may also be able to receive your superannuation early if you are suffering from extreme financial hardship, or from some specific compassionate grounds, such as: significant and unexpected medical costs, being at risk of losing your home, paying for palliative care, or for funeral expenses for a dependent. You should contact your super fund and the Department of Human Services.
What is Financial Hardship?
If you are suffering through financial hardship, you may be able to access your superannuation early. The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) have systems in place to help those in dire financial need.
- Urgently need money to pay for medical expenses, disability-related expenses, palliative care or funeral expenses;
- Have been receiving Centrelink payments for at least six months and cannot meet your day-to-day expenses;
- Risk your home being sold by your mortgage lender;
then you may be able to gain early access to your stored super.
You should contact the Department of Human Services direct on 1300 131 060 to see if you qualify and also speak to your super fund.
Will Turner Freeman act for me on a No Win – No Fee basis and what does No Win – No Fee mean?
Turner Freeman Lawyers No Win No Fee policy
After we have investigated your claim at no obligation to you, we will then make a decision about whether we would be prepared to act for you on a No Win – No Fee basis. At that time, we will provide you with a proper written advice regarding your prospects of success and whether we are prepared to act for you on a No Win – No Fee basis.
Under our usual terms and conditions, No Win – No Fee simply means that we if take your case on, we will only be paid a reasonable fee for the legal work we have done for you at the end of the claim and only if you win.
In the highly unlikely event that your claim goes to trial and in the even more unlikely event that your case goes all the way to trial and you lose, we will not seek to charge you anything for all of the work we have done for you.
If we act for you on No Win – No Fee basis, this also means we will pay for all of the disbursements or expenses out of our own funds such as expert fees, doctors’ reports, court filing fees and so on. Unlike other firms, we do not charge any interest on these disbursements or expenses which we fund and we are only repaid at the end of your case and only if you win.
In the highly unlikely event that your case goes to court and you lose, while you would not have to pay us anything, it is likely that the court would order that pay the other side’s legal costs which could be a substantial sum.
More information on Superannuation, Disability & Insurance claims
Super Claims Australia – Our dedicated Superannuation website
For more detailed information on Superannuation, TPD, Disability & Insurance claims please visit our website entirely dedicated to Superannuation and TPD advice at www.superclaim.com.au. You will find brochures, blog articles, newsletters and articles on all things superannuation, disability, TPD and insurance.
If you would like to speak to someone directly please call us on 1800 088 677 or contact us via our online form.
Our dedicated Superannuation team is here to help you.