Superannuation Claims: What to Expect & How to Claim

Best Injury Lawyers Insights  |  May 7, 2024
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Have you been sidelined by an injury? Understanding your rights to superannuation claims could be the lifeline you need. In Brisbane, as well as across Australia, if an injury impairs your earning ability, tapping into your superannuation might just be the support you need to stay afloat. This is because many super funds include a type of insurance that covers Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), which can be crucial if you’re unable to continue working in your role or any other role that suits your skills and training.

In 2021-22, 31% of workers benefited from workers’ compensation. However, the financial relief doesn’t stop there; superannuation insurance claims and the early release of superannuation offer additional pathways to secure your financial health. Whether you’re researching how much lawyers charge for TPD claims or considering a claim yourself, understanding your options is the first step towards recovery.

Making a superannuation claim or need more info? Reach out to our team of expert superannuation lawyers for a free consultation on your situation.

What is a superannuation claim?

Superannuation, commonly referred to as “super,” is a compulsory scheme designed to help Australians save for retirement. However, many superannuation plans also include insurance benefits, such as Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover and income protection. These benefits are specifically designed to offer financial support in the event of an injury or illness that prevents you from performing your current job or any job you are suited to based on education, training, or experience.

Eligibility for a Superannuation Insurance Claim

To qualify for a superannuation insurance claim, your situation must meet specific criteria. These criteria mainly relate to the severity and type of your injury or illness, including:

  • Severity of Injury: Does your injury significantly impact your ability to work?
    • Claims typically require that the injury or illness prevents you from performing your current role or any suitable role to which you are qualified by training, education or experience.
  • Type of Injury: Does your injury qualify as a physical impairment, such as back pain or repetitive strain injuries?
    • While physical conditions are common qualifiers, psychological conditions like depression or anxiety, which significantly affect your ability to work, also qualify.
  • Chronic Illness: Does a long-term illness limit your ability to earn a living?
    • To qualify for a claim, chronic conditions must significantly impact your work capability.

Understanding Types of Superannuation Insurance

Most superannuation funds in Australia provide their members with several types of insurance cover, which act as a safety net if you cannot work due to personal injury, psychological injury, or chronic illness:

  • Life Insurance or Death Cover: Provides financial support to your family upon your death.
  • Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Insurance: Offers a lump sum payment if you are no longer able to work in any occupation suited to your training, education, or experience due to physical or psychological illness or injury.
  • Income Protection Insurance: Typically pays up to 80% of your regular income for a designated period, often up to 2 years, if you are temporarily unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Temporary Disability Insurance (TTD): Provides monthly payments until you can return to work, bridging the gap while you recover.

How can you check your superannuation insurance policies?

To verify the insurances you hold through your superannuation, you can:

  • Contact your superannuation provider directly or;
  • Log into your online super account provided by your super fund or;
  • Review your super fund’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Will making a claim affect my pension savings?

Making an insurance claim on your superannuation won’t affect your retirement savings. Successful claims are paid out from a separate insurance policy that your super fund opened on your behalf, meaning your superannuation fund balance remains untouched.

These provisions ensure that, if you’re unable to work due to a qualifying injury or illness, you can access financial support without compromising your future financial stability.

If you’re uncertain whether your condition qualifies for a claim, or how to proceed, contact us at Best Injury Lawyers. Our team of experts will guide you through the claims process and ensure you receive the comprehensive advice and support you need.

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When can you make a superannuation insurance claim?

If you’re dealing with an injury or illness that impacts your ability to work, understanding when and how to make a superannuation insurance claim is crucial.

Superannuation doesn’t just prepare you for retirement—it can also provide essential financial support in times of need. This section will guide you through the different types of claims included in most superannuation plans and explain when you might be eligible to make a claim, along with examples:

Temporary Disability Insurance (TTD)

When to Claim for TTD

TTD claims are applicable if an injury or illness temporarily prevents you from working, typically for a period of up to 2 years.

Example of TTD Claim

John, a construction worker, breaks his arm in a fall on the job. He’s unable to work for 6 months while his arm heals. During this period, John can claim TTD through his super to receive a pre-agreed monthly amount until he is fit to return to work.

Income Protection Insurance

When to Claim for Income Protection Insurance

Income protection can be claimed if a personal injury or illness prevents you from working for an extended period, usually up to 2 years, depending on the policy.

Example of Income Protection Insurance Claim

Sarah, an accountant, develops chronic back pain. While she is unable to continue in her current role without significant discomfort, she might be able to transition to a less physically demanding position. Sarah can claim income protection through her super to replace a major portion of her income while she retrains or adjusts her career path.

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)

When to Make a TPD Claim

A TPD claim is relevant when an injury or illness permanently prevents you from working in any employment suited to your training, education or experience.

Example of TPD Claim

David, a mechanic, develops a severe illness that results in a debilitating spinal condition. This illness permanently restricts his ability to engage in any physical jobs. David can claim TPD through his superannuation, which provides a lump sum payment that helps him adjust to life with his disabilities and cover ongoing medical costs and living expenses.

Life Insurance or Death Cover

When to Claim for Life Insurance or Death Cover

Life insurance claims are made by the beneficiaries after the insured person passes away from any cause, including but not limited to workplace accidents or illnesses.

Example of Life Insurance or Death Cover Claim

Michael, a factory worker, dies from a heart attack at home. His family claims life insurance through his superannuation, providing them with a lump sum payment that helps manage the financial impact of their loss.

How do you make a superannuation claim?

Navigating the superannuation claim process can be daunting, especially when dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of an injury or ongoing illness. While the specifics may vary depending on your super fund, understanding the general steps can empower you to start and manage your claim effectively.

Step #1 – Gather Information

Review Your Super Fund Statements

Confirm your insurance coverage, whether it be TPD, income protection, or both, and familiarise yourself with the specific claim process outlined by your fund.

Medical Records

Collect all relevant medical records that document your injury and its impact on your ability to work. These should be detailed and include comprehensive reports from your treating doctors.

Employment Details

Gather necessary employment documents such as record of employment and recent payslips, along with any other relevant employment information.

Step #2 – Lodge a Claim

Contact Your Super Fund

Reach out to your super fund to obtain the necessary claim forms. They will also provide guidance on how to fill them out and the process for submission.

Complete the Claim Forms

Fill in the claim forms with accurate details about your injury, its impact on your work life, and any other required information. Attach all gathered documentation to support your claim. You will need to provide medical evidence with your claim form.

Step #3 – The Evaluation Stage

Super Fund Assessment

Your super fund will review your claim based on the policy details and the supporting documents provided. This evaluation might include consultations with your medical practitioners for additional insights.

Potential for Delays

Be prepared for potential delays. Claims can be delayed, especially if further medical information or additional detailed documentation is required to process your claim.

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How long does a superannuation claim take?

Generally, simpler claims might only take a few weeks to resolve. However, more complex claims, such as those for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months to reach a conclusion. The processing time for each claim will also depend on the amount of evidence required and how quickly it can be provided to the insurer. Essentially, the time it takes to process a superannuation claim in Queensland can vary depending on the type of superannuation claim and the specifics of the case.

Income Protection claims might start paying out sooner after approval due to the nature of the coverage, which is for temporary incapacity. But they also tend to have an initial waiting period defined in the policy. On the other hand, life insurance or death benefits claims can be processed relatively quickly, within a few weeks or months, especially if the case is straightforward and all necessary documents are readily available.

Make Sure Your Super Claim Pays Out What You Deserve

The superannuation claim process can be complicated. Understanding policy definitions of disability or negotiating for the full payout you’re entitled to can be tricky.

The role of a lawyer during the claim process is to provide expert guidance on the claim submission, and fight your corner for full compensation. It’s about protecting your rights and maximising your chances of success.

At Best Injury Lawyers, we understand every case is unique. Here’s how we can assist on a No Win No Fee basis:

  • Initial Free Consultation: We begin by listening to your story to understand the specifics of your situation.
  • Policy Investigation: We will investigate all your super fund memberships and insurance covers to determine your entitlements.
  • Evidence Collection: Our team will obtain necessary evidence, which may include medical records, tax returns, and other relevant documentation.
  • Claim Submission: We handle the drafting and submission of your claim, making sure it meets all policy and legal requirements.
  • Ongoing Support: Should your claim encounter issues or require an appeal, our lawyers are prepared to take further action to secure your benefits.

Contact us today to navigate the superannuation claim process with confidence and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our experienced team at Best Injury Lawyers is ready to guide you every step of the way, from initial policy review to claim resolution. Schedule your free initial consultation here.