Superannuation and Permanent Disability

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If you have been struck by illness or injury and incurred a long-term disability as a result, you may be able to make a claim to your superannuation fund under the grounds of Total and Permanent Disability, or TPD. Each superannuation fund and policy is slightly different in their definition, with differing requirements as to who actually qualifies, though broadly speaking, that person must be unable to work, through illness or injury, for any employment to which they are reasonably qualified through education, training or experience and they ceased employment as a direct result of the disability. There must have been 6 months of continuous unemployment, the person must be aged under 65 years of age on the day they ceased employment and hold a valid insurance policy on the date the disability arose. In addition to the medical evidence, a determination needs to be made regarding a potential return to the workforce. This will involve an assessment of the local workplace, taking into account ones’ skills and the likelihood of actually being able to gain employment.

Making a Claim for Total and Permanent Disability

Making a TPD claim is not simple and it is advisable to seek professional legal assistance from the outset. An experienced superannuation lawyer can assist you in filling out the various claim documents and helping you understand if you are eligible, while helping you collate medical reports as required. A successful claim will have two components, one being a lump sum payment, based upon the type and level of insurance held, while the second involves the release of that person’s accumulated Superannuation funds. Even if your application is not accepted, you may be able to have the accumulated funds released anyway, on the grounds of your disability or financial hardship. Some people are concerned about taking new training or further education to enable them to return to some sort of work. Doing so can actually help a TPD claim, as it shows that the disability has prevented you from working in the field where you had education, training and experience already. Your claim does not have to be as a result of an injury caused at work. Cancer, heart attack, mental illness or other ailments are all perfectly legitimate grounds.

The Claim Process for TPD

The first step in making a TPD claim is to contact the Superannuation fund, to identify what benefits may be available and to request the application forms. You will then require statements in support of your case from your previous employer and the medical practitioners who have been treating you. These documents along with any further supporting evidence should then be submitted to the superannuation fund, whose trustee will then decide the level of award. In case your application is rejected, a review of the trustee’s decision can be applied for if additional medical evidence is available, with both the amount and the decision itself, able to be appealed to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, or be taken directly to court to challenge the fund’s decision. Experienced superannuation lawyers will be able to provide you with the benefit of their knowledge in assessing, preparing and filing a case, and advising you what to push for and equally important, when to back down.