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If you have stopped work because of injury or illness, it can be a challenging and emotional time. You might be managing serious health issues, going from specialist appointment to specialist appointment, and looking after the wellbeing of your family. Your super might not be at top of mind. As a result, people often do not realise until some time after they have stopped work that they may be able to access entitlements, such as total and permanent disability (TPD) and income protection insurance, through your super fund. If this is you, don’t panic. In most super funds, there is no time limit for claiming insurance benefits and you can usually make a TPD or income protection insurance claim many years after you cease work. This blog outlines what your options are in this situation.
There are three key reasons people submit ‘late’ TPD and income protection claims:
1. They stop work as a result of injury and illness and ‘retire’ – accessing their super and then closing their super account (or accounts) without thinking to check if they might be eligible for any insurance benefits,
2. They are just too sick to lodge a claim at the time that they stop work, and/or
3. They die after stopping work as a result of injury or illness, and their estate or beneficiaries seek to make a claim relating to the deceased person’s cessation of work.
In both these situations, it is possible to make a successful TPD insurance claim. We know that finding super documentation, like super statements showing your insurance entitlements, can be tricky at the best of times – let alone trying to locate it years later to determine your eligibility. This is where Littles can help. We’re TPD experts and can do a free super claims check. Know what your options are – know what your rights are. Remember, you can make a TPD claim for a range of illnesses and conditions, including mental illnesses and chronic illnesses.
As we always say, insurance policies, including the fine print, will differ between super funds.
For example, some insurance policies or fund rules require that:
· you must make a claim before you cease work or your employment is terminated, and/or
· you must make the claim within a specified period after you cease work.
However, insurers are not there to represent your interests. They won’t always tell you what you need to know – when you need to know it. That’s why Littles strongly recommends getting high quality legal advice early. When is the right time to do this? We say:
· if you’re working and struggling because of injury or illness and considering stopping work, or
· you’re working and struggling because of illness or injury and considering reducing the number of hours you work, and/or
· if you’ve already stopped work as a result of illness or injury, as soon as possible!
Even if your insurance policy or super fund rules don’t prescribe time limits or otherwise preclude late claims, it’s generally the case that the sooner you make your claim, the stronger it will be. Why is this? Well, for example:
· medical and employment records may be lost, or much more difficult to access, and
· your memory fades over time and you may forget important details.
These and other factors make it harder to make a strong claim that your illness or injury was the reason you ceased work.
Do you have an injury or illness that prevents you from working, or just want to know more about what insurance you have under your super? Get in touch with Littles for a free super claims check. We can help you understand what you’re entitled to. Know where you stand, and get peace of mind.