I have a chronic illness. Am I eligible for TPD benefits?

Many people think that total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance is for people who have been injured at work, or have recently become unwell. At Littles, we want people to know the facts around TPD and income protection insurance, and what you might be entitled to.

What’s the difference? Income protection insurance and TPD insurance – Littles

What is a TPD Claim? – Littles

After all, this insurance is often paid for through your super fund – money you have worked hard for! Importantly, people who suffer from a chronic illness are unaware that they may be entitled to TPD benefits. As you can imagine, this can significantly impact a person’s financial wellbeing, and allow them to concentrate on their health.  This blog provides practical information about what you need to know about TPD and income protection insurance if you have a chronic illness

What is a chronic illness?

Chronic illnesses are long lasting diseases with persistent effects.  They can have significant social and economic consequences for peoples’ quality of life. They include illnesses like 

• Multiple Sclerosis

• asthma

• cancer

• Motor Neurone disease

• Parkinson’s disease, 

• cardiovascular disease

• chronic kidney disease

• depression

• chronic fatigue syndrome

and a range of other illnesses and conditions.  We know that chronic illnesses and conditions can look different in different people, and manifest in different ways. This includes the effect of chronic illness on people’s ability to continue working. 

What is TPD insurance?

Almost all super funds provide automatic  coverage for TPD for members when they  join the fund. Members can also usually apply for additional insurance cover. In addition to TPD insurance cover, many super funds also provide income protection benefits. TPD insurance is an insurance product that lets you claim benefits if you become sick or injured (or both) and are unable to work again. These benefits are usually paid by lump sum into your super account. This lump sum is often substantial and can be more than $100,000. The amount of your insurance cover will usually depend on your age and the super fund that you are a member of.

Remember, having a total and permanent disability doesn’t mean that you’re unfit for all work – just that you’re unable to do the work fitting your area of skill and expertise. Sometimes, you may need to show that you cannot be retrained to do another different job. This will depend on the fund, as different insurers may have different claim thresholds and requirements.

Importantly, the cause of the illness or injury doesn’t usually matter. Your illness or injury doesn’t have to be work-related. A TPD benefit can be payable for any illness or injury that prevents you from working. We have assisted people claiming for many chronic illnesses.

I think I may be a member of more than one super fund. Can I claim TPD benefits from multiple funds?

Yes. In Australia, many people have more than one superannuation fund – and often don’t even know those funds exist! You can claim a TPD insurance benefit from more than one super fund for the same cessation of work. 

Every super fund is different. Let Littles help. Locating lost super funds, reading insurance policies and communicating with insurers can be stressful and complex. We offer a free super claims check, and can manage the claim process from start to finish, so you can focus on your health. Know where you stand, and get peace of mind. Contact us here!

What is income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance is an insurance product that usually provides you with a monthly benefit if you cannot perform your income producing duties due to illness or injury. Depending on the policy you have, income protection benefits can be payable for two years, five years, until age 65 or even for the rest of your life.

Some Australian superannuation funds offer income protection insurance by default to all of their members, including REST and AMIST.

I’m struggling but I don’t want to leave the workforce. Should I change jobs, reduce my hours or change my work duties?

We know that most people who suffer from a chronic illness do not want to stop work. We see clients who do whatever is necessary to stay in the workforce, including:

• changing jobs

• reducing hours, and 

• changing to light or modified duties. 

Not only can continuing to work in these circumstances exacerbate your chronic illness, doing these things may affect your right to claim a TPD benefit,  make submitting a claim much harder, and in some instances reduce the amount that you are paid. Let Littles help, and obtain high quality legal advice first. We are TPD experts, and can manage your claim from start to finish, so that you can concentrate on your health. Contact us here!

Don’t delay – seek advice now

If you have a chronic illness or condition that prevents you from working, you might be worrying about how you are going to pay your bills and put food on the table. Don’t put your health at further risk. You might be entitled to receive a TPD lump sum, as well as other insurance benefits.  Get in touch with Littles for a free super claims check. We can help you understand what you’re entitled to, and manage the process efficiently and sensitively. Know where you stand, and get peace of mind.

Free advice and no upfront fees

Not only do we offer a FREE claims check – we handle most insurance claims on a no win, no fee basis.

Our Head of TPD and General Insurance, Rowan McDonald, is an insurance law expert. If you think you might have a claim, get in touch with Rowan and his team for high quality legal advice. 

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