Suffered an injury and had problems working? You could have a Super Claim.
If you have a permanent illness or injury such as a car accident or injury at work, which means that you are unable to work, either in your usual occupation or any occupation at all, then you may be able to claim a lump sum payment through your TPD insurance (total and permanent disability).
A recent report by ASIC found that 90% of people who held TPD insurance were insured through their superannuation fund. It also found that at the time of the report being produced, almost 12 million people in Australia held TPD cover.
Some people also hold TPD life insurance or income protection insurance outside of their superannuation fund, which provides compensation if you are permanently injured or suffer a permanent illness, and want peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones are protected.
If you hold a TPD policy through your super fund or have a standalone insurance policy, and you have been injured and are permanently disabled or are suffering an illness which means that you are unable to work (either in your current occupation or any occupation), you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Speak to our team of TPD lawyers today about your personal circumstances and we will give you advice and information about claiming a lump sum payment under your income protection TPD insurance policy.
Considering a TPD claim? Get free initial advice from our experts now.
TPD stands for total and permanent disability. It is a form of insurance which is included as a default option on many superannuation fund policies. TPD insurance pays you a lump sum if you become totally and permanently disabled due to an illness or injury, or other debilitating health conditions.
What are the requirements for making a TPD claim?
If you have suffered an injury or illness which means that you are now no longer able to work in your occupation, or any kind of occupation, you may be eligible to claim on your TPD policy.
Example: Glen is a carpenter. He suffers an injury at work one day where both of his hands are crushed while he is working. He rehabilitates and recovers, but is unable to work as a carpenter again. He also finds it very difficult to find work in any other trade, as he has limited skills in any other area and he is in pain for most of the day, making working untenable. He would likely be able to make a claim through his TPD insurance.
Example: Marion slips and falls at home, injuring her back. She ordinarily works as a florist in her own business, but used to work as a teacher. She is permanently injured, and is no longer able to continue working as a florist due to the lifting and moving around. However, she does manage to use her teaching skills to start her own floristry school. She does not earn as much money running her own school. Even though Marion does not earn as much money as she did before, she can still earn an income. Therefore it is unlikely that a claim on her TPD insurance policy would be successful.
Some types of TPD insurance benefits provide cover if you are unable to work in your occupation again, depending on your education, training or experience.
You can check with your TPD provider to see if your cover is for ‘your own occupation’ or ‘any occupation’. The latter is normally the default and insurance to cover your own occupation is normally a premium insurance you would have opted into.
Example: Amelia works as a pathology specimen collector (phlebotomist) in a pathology clinic where she takes blood samples from referred patients. Amelia injures her hands and arms in a cycling accident and no longer has the precision with her hands to take blood samples with a needle, resulting in her moving to a part time admin position. This wouldn’t normally qualify for a TPD claim but as Amelia has ‘own occupation’ cover then a claim might be possible.
Speak to your superannuation provider or financial planner about your TPD insurance benefit to find out what type of cover you have, and what you may be able to claim on. We can also assist you by liaising with your superannuation fund.
How long does a TPD claim take?
TPD policies commonly have a waiting period to satisfy and each TPD policy claim is different, and it takes some time to gather the necessary medical history evidence for a claim in some cases.
You may have a successful claim within one to three months of lodgment of the claim, or it may take a considerably longer period of time to claim. When you come in for a free consultation with our lawyers we can discuss time frames and give you a realistic estimate of how long your TPD claim will take.
How much will my TPD claim be worth?
A TPD claim is paid as a lump sum. The amount you receive is dictated by your policy and the sum insured.
You will need to look into your policy documents to find out how much is paid as part of your TPD payment. When you work with a law firm that are TPD claim experts such as ourselves, you are placing yourself in the best possible position to achieve a successful outcome from your claim.
Frequently Answered Questions
Do I need a lawyer for a TPD claim?
You do not need to hire a lawyer to be able to make a claim on your TPD insurance, but there are a range of benefits that come with hiring a lawyer that will make the entire claiming process a lot more straightforward.
More chance of a successful claim - our experts can assess and where appropriate, submit a strong application for a claim.
Faster claim times - we are experienced at running these claims types and can run them in less time than most self managed applications.
Easier and less work for yourself - we take on the bulk of the work which makes it less stressful for yourself.
A recent investigation into the TPD claims process by ASIC found that approximately 12.5% of all TPD claims during their period of review were withdrawn. This withdrawal was attributed, at least partly, to an unnecessarily onerous claims process.
When you are going through a TPD claim you are impaired due to injury, or ill — such is the nature of the claim. Due to this, you will likely be living with several other issues such as medical appointments, debts, or other insurance claims processes such as a WorkCover claim.
This can make life harder, and you may feel pressured, stressed, anxious, or otherwise overwhelmed by what you have to get done to satisfy the insurer or Trustee that you are entitled to the TPD benefit payable.
When you choose to engage us as your lawyer, you will have people on your side who are friendly, knowledgeable, respectful and committed to getting you the best possible outcome.
Our TPD experts will;
Explain the entire process of making a TPD claim
Give you realistic estimates as to outcomes
Keep you updated at every stage
Help you maximise your chance of a successful clam
Provide ongoing support and guidance
Are here to help you navigate what can be a difficult process
The reason why TPD claims can be complex is because the provisions in the insurance policies have differing standards which must be met to demonstrate whether a person is, in fact, permanently disabled or affected by an illness.
Our lawyers will work with you to ensure you take the necessary medical tests or assessments to provide sufficient evidence to show how you are impacted by your illness. Ultimately, we aim to maximise the likelihood of a successful claim for TPD insurance.
Can you claim on multiple TPD policies?
Yes - provided they are accounts with active TPD policies and there are no exclusion provisions in the policies preventing multiple claims being made.
If you have multiple superannuation accounts then there is no impediment to you making multiple claims on your TPD insurance.
Your superannuation fund charges a fee for your TPD insurance which is taken from your superannuation balance.
As a result, if you have an active superannuation account you will have a valid policy. It is important to seek legal advice if you have more than one policy to ensure that all of your claims are valid.
How much do lawyers charge for TPD claims?
Every firm has different methods of charging fees.
Most commonly law firms charge either hourly rates or fixed fee amounts (lump sum amounts).
There are advantages and disadvantages to both:
Advantages - you only pay for the work which is performed. If the claim can be resolved quickly with the insurer then your fees will be lower. If the claim is a contested one with the insurer being difficult then the fees will be higher - but only reflective of the actual work involved.
Disadvantages - there is less certainty about what your final fees will be. You won’t know that until closer to the time of settlement.
Matters for consideration:
The level of the hourly rates will obviously be important. We are aware of some law practices who charge as much as $650 + GST per hour.
The seniority of the people likely to be performing the work - clearly, the more senior the person involved the higher the hourly rates.
You are entitled to know what your fees will be before you agree to settle your claim.
Advantages - there is greater certainty for you about what your fees will be.
Disadvantages - if the claim is settled quickly and/or without too much work involved then there may be a windfall for the solicitors.
The amount they get paid might not fairly represent the level of work which has been performed.
The fixed fee might also serve as a deterrent to the lawyer working hard on your claim (knowing there is a set payment involved).
Matters for consideration:
Be careful to understand whether or not the fixed fee represents all of the fees to be charged or whether it applies to only some of the work to be performed (e.g. up to a certain stage in the claim).
The fixed fee amount might represent a large portion of your final payment. You need to understand what sort of likely outcome you might get and what level of fees you might recover from the insurer (if any).
Typically, the legal fees should only represent a smaller percentage of your total payout.
Our Recommended Approach:
We think a balanced approach (involving hourly rates and a cap on total legal costs) strikes the best balance. Typically we will offer to run these on a no win, no fee basis.
It means the lawyer doesn’t unfairly profit if there is a minimal amount of work involved. But there is also some certainty and safety for the client (with capped fees) in cases where more work is involved.
When you speak to our TPD lawyers, they can give you more details based on your specific situation. We charge only for the work we perform, have caps of total legal costs and have very competitive hourly rates (much lower than other legal practices who perform this type of work).
Call us now to find out more and will explain the benefits of retaining us to assist you.
Will I pay tax on a TPD payment?
Not directly. When a person makes a claim on their TPD insurance in their superannuation, any amount that is approved to be paid is deposited into the superannuation account. This amount is paid into your account tax-free.
A person can access their superannuation when they are either at or above the preservation age (the age at which a person can access their superannuation) or when they meet the permanent incapacity condition which permits access to benefits within a superannuation account.
When you access your TPD payment, the age at which you access your payment will have an impact on whether you pay tax. If a lump sum is paid from your fund into your bank account, and you are under the preservation age (between 57 - 60 years of age, depending on your date of birth) the amount of tax payable depends on your super components and your age.
Note: Important to seek financial advice on tax issues
The information provided above is general information only to help raise some matters that are important to consider. It is not advice. We recommend seeking financial advice before accessing any TPD payment or otherwise dealing with your superannuation funds to see how the steps you might take might impact on you in your circumstances.
Please also contact us for a complimentary consultation to get more information about any possible legal claim so that we can discuss your plans for the future, and get started with you on your TPD claim.