‘TPD’ stands for Total and Permanent Disability. Most good superannuation funds include a TPD insurance benefit as part of the policy – you might not even know you are covered. Despite how it sounds, you do not need to be catastrophically injured.
A total and permanent disability claim usually entitles you to payment of a significant lump sum if you’ve sustained an injury or illness that prevents you from returning to work in the same capacity.
Among the most impactful injuries affecting an individual’s work capacity are usually those stemming from motor vehicle accidents or workplace incidents. However, even a seemingly minor slip-and-fall in a public space can result in serious injuries that may qualify for a TPD claim. Successful claims for total and permanent disability can be made for various conditions, ranging from debilitating back or spinal cord injuries and significant brain injuries to less overt ailments like shoulder dislocations, knee fractures, or chronic psychological conditions.
Your eligibility to make a TPD claim will depend on your specific superannuation policy, as decided by the insurer or super fund in question.
The steps required to successfully claim TPD insurance depends on the super fund you are with, and whether such cover falls inside your super policy. The usual first step is to obtain independent medical evidence from the most suitable doctor(s) to prove your inability to perform your usual work duties.
I have multiple Superannuation funds – can I make multiple TPD claims?
Some people have more than one active superannuation fund and can therefore have multiple TPD insurance policies. It is often possible to claim on more than one TPD policy.
Making multiple TPD claims for the same injury is sometimes referred to as ‘double dipping‘.
Hear from Tim who claimed multiple TPD policies with Roche Legal
Queensland’s Top Rated Superannuation Solicitors for TPD Claims
If you need assistance making a TPD claim through your superannuation fund, Roche Legal provide professional legal representation on a no win no fee basis.
Sean Roche and Roche Legal’s TPD team is consistently listed among the highest rated lawyers in Queensland, verified by Google. In fact, we have never had a TPD claim denied on our watch and have had success in overturning decisions where legitimate claims were denied unfairly.
Other Compensation Claims
If your injuries are not permanent and you are eventually expected to return to work, you may still be entitled to receive weekly payments whilst you’re recovering if your superannuation policy includes income protection insurance.
Income protection provides regular payments to you if you are temporarily absent from work due to an injury or illness. We need to check with your superannuation fund to see if the policy contains terms providing for such temporary disability payments. These payments are usually a percentage of your usual wages and not a 100% income replacement. The terms may also contain other conditions about when such payments can be made and when they cease.
Some people also pay for private life insurance. In this case, these people can usually make an additional claim on the private policy as well as through their superannuation policy.
If you can prove your injuries were caused by the fault of someone else, you may have additional claims to make. The process depends on how exactly you were injured, such as:
You should seek legal advice to increase your chances of making a successful claim to receive the full range of benefits you are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Can I make a TPD claim?”
Finding out whether you can make a TPD claim begins with a review of your superannuation member statement. These statements indicate whether your super fund includes insurance cover for total and permanent disability.
It is important to make sure that you check the member statement relevant to the date of your injury or illness. If you check a current member statement which says you don’t have insurance, it won’t matter so long as you held TPD insurance cover on the date of your injury or illness.
If you’re unsure, you can make a simple phone call to ROCHE Legal, and we will advise you. You will discuss your situation directly with a lawyer who will tell you in plain English whether you have a claim or not. We can review your Superannuation policy and advise you whether you have TPD insurance. This advice is 100% free to you.
If you prefer to meet and discuss in person, you can call us to arrange a free initial appointment in one of our three offices.
Although, we understand that it isn’t always easy to travel or meet with a lawyer when there are other things on your mind following an accident. At your request, our lawyers are willing to travel to meet you in person. Strict time limits apply to making compensation claims, so our priority is to make sure that you maintain your right to be fairly compensated – and not miss out just because you missed a deadline.
“How much can I claim under my TPD policy?“
TPD insurance cover usually ranges from around $20,000 – $2,000,000. The coverage amount typically decreases as you get older.
The cover is for current and future medical costs, to clear any debts that you’re not able to pay for anymore since you stopped work and provides you with a source of income to replace the income you’re no longer receiving.
“Will you run my TPD Claim No Win No Fee?”
Yes. Roche Legal offers No Win No Fee representation to everyone with a qualifying TPD claim. Contact us for a free initial consultation. We have offices in Brisbane, Springwood, and the Sunshine Coast.
Our firm has never been unsuccessful in claiming TPD insurance for our clients. Our success rate is 100%. You pay nothing up front, and if we are not successful in claiming compensation through your policy, you will not be charged a cent.
“What kind of injuries are covered by TPD insurance?”
TPD insurance covers any kind of injury.
- a fractured ankle from a motorcycle accident
- a back injury from lifting something heavy at work
- a neck injury from slipping over in a public place
- a psychological injury from witnessing a traumatic event
It doesn’t matter who caused your injuries or how they occurred, so long as the injury is not minor in nature nor self-inflicted. The injury must be serious enough that it impacts your ability to work.
An injury that is minor in nature is typically one that you are expected to make a full recovery from.
“I’m on Workcover… Can I still make a TPD Claim?”
Yes – If you were injured at work, chances are you have already applied for Workers’ Compensation through Workcover Queensland or another provider. If Workcover are paying you weekly benefits, you are still entitled to make a TPD claim at any time without impacting your weekly payments.
“What do I need to prove to win my TPD claim?”
To be successful in your claim for TPD insurance, you must meet superannuation fund’s definition of being ‘totally and permanently disabled’.
This does not mean that you need to be catastrophically injured and in a wheelchair. It most often simply means that you need to prove that due to an injury or illness you are unable or unlikely to be able to return to your usual job or any other job you have qualification or experience doing.
If you need to start a whole new career, chances are you will meet the definition.
“Do I need a lawyer to make a TPD claim?”
Generally speaking, we don’t believe that everyone requires the assistance of a lawyer to make a successful TPD claim.
However, we have seen injured clients who attempted to run their own claim without legal assistance have their claims rejected in circumstances where the claim should have been approved. It is important to complete the TPD claim forms properly and prepare the correct evidence at the right time. If a TPD claim is rejected, the applicant usually requires the assistance of a lawyer to get the claim back on track for reconsideration. In this case, the legal fees are substantially higher than if a lawyer was used in the first instance.
If you intend on making a TPD claim without the use of a lawyer, we recommend at very least you read our blog on how to win a TPD claim.
“How much do lawyers charge for TPD claims?”
ROCHE Legal charge fixed fees for TPD Claims, and only if your claim is successful. We do not charge a percentage of your compensation amount. On average, our fixed fees typically work out to be around 10-15% of the TPD insurance value.
Your TPD insurance value is determined by the policy in your superannuation fund. Different superannuation funds have different TPD insurance values.
Unlike other law firms, we do not charge an uplift on TPD Claims. Our quoted fixed fee is exactly that – fixed, with no surprises.
“Who do I bring my TPD claim against?”
TPD claims are made to your Superannuation Fund and the insurer of the fund.
If applicable – you may also claim against your Life Insurance Company (if you have a separate private life insurance policy).
If fault can be shown, then a further claim may be made against the party at fault. In this case, the insurer of that party will be responsible for any compensation payable under a court order or an agreed settlement.
“Are there any important time limits to bring a claim?”
Quite possibly. This depends upon the terms of the superannuation trust deed or policy. Some insurance funds place a time limit within which such claims can be made so it is critical that you get legal advice immediately.
If your superannuation fund drags its feet or appears reluctant to provide you with assistance, contact us at ROCHE Legal and we can take it from there.
“How much compensation will I be paid?”
Your payout amount depends on your specific superannuation policy. You can find out your level of cover by contacting your superannuation fund and asking them for your Member Statement which should set out the details of the amount of cover you have under the policy for total and permanent disablement.
Your cover will typically decrease as you get older until around age 60-65 where cover often ceases.
“Who pays me the compensation?”
If your TPD claim is approved, the insurer of the superannuation fund will make the payment directly to your super fund. It is then up to you as to how/when you withdraw the funds.
You do not have to withdraw your TPD insurance sum in full immediately and can elect to keep it in your super fund to grow or withdraw it in stages.
We recommend seeking financial advice on how to minimise tax that may be payable on the compensation sum and not compromise any other benefits that may be available to you (such as Centrelink’s Jobseeker payment or Disability Support Pension).
“How long does a TPD claim take?”
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) considers the timeframes set out by the Financial Services Council Life Insurance Code of Practice (‘the Code’) to be the minimum standard of accepted industry practice and expects insurers to meet them.
Key timeframes in the Code include:
- Making a decision on TPD claims within 6 months unless exceptional circumstances apply.
- Making a decision within 10 business days of receiving all information necessary to assess the claim.
- Providing updates on the claim process every 20 business days.
- Replying to update requests within 10 business days.
If insurers don’t comply with these timeframes AFCA requires insurers to provide compelling reasons. AFCA also expects super funds to hold insurers to these timeframes – you wouldn’t think so the way they behave, but your super fund is actually charged with assisting you with your claim against the TPD insurer.
If the insurer is not meeting the timeframes set out by the Code, you are entitled to raise a complaint to the insurer, your super fund, or AFCA.
We try to resolve claims for Total and Permanent Disability within 6 months from the time you consult us however we have experience making successful TPD claims within as little as 10 days from lodgement. On average, we complete TPD claims within 3 months.
“Will my employer sack me if I make a TPD claim?”
If you are worried that you might get fired if your employer finds out you are making a TPD claim, there is a strong chance that you do not qualify to make a TPD claim in the first place. However, there are some circumstances where you can remain employed so long as it is in a role that is substantially different to the job you have training and experience in.
There are laws against employers terminating employees for making insurance claims, so you should not be discriminated against for claiming on your policy.
“Can I make a claim on behalf of the estate if the injured person passes away?”
Yes. This is known as a dependency or death benefit claim. TPD policies usually allow for dependency claims to be made in the event of death under a nominated death benefit amount often equal to the amount insured for total and permeant disability.
The spouse or children who relied on the deceased may be able to make the claim. We can help you determine if there are any death benefits provided for in the deceased’s superannuation fund and in the event the deceased had any life insurance cover.
“I have multiple super funds. Can I make more than one claim?”
Generally speaking, yes. If you have multiple super funds and each of them has a TPD Policy, you can usually claim on each policy. However, some policies exclude you from claiming if you have previously made a claim through a separate fund. This is rare but requires a review of the policy terms and conditions.