What you need to know about TPD insurance when it comes to brain disorders and conditions

It is estimated that around one in 50 people in Australia have an acquired brain disorder or condition. While these disorders and conditions impact in different ways, we know that they are often degenerative and limit the ability of people to maintain a career or continue working. If you, or someone you know, has a brain disorder and you think that you may no longer be able to work as a result, help may be available through insurance held in your superannuation. This could include total and permanent disability (TPD) and income protection benefits. Many people think that 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. This blog explores some of the options available.

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What is a brain disorder or condition?

Brain disorders and conditions cover a wide spectrum, and can include injuries that are ‘acquired’, such as a fractured skull or concussion; as well as degenerative diseases and illnesses. These include:

  • Meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumour
  • Dementia
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FAS-D)

 

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How do brain disorders and conditions affect people?

Like any medical issue, brain disorders and conditions affect every one differently, and vary in complexity, severity and length. Broadly, the effects of a brain disorder or condition may include any or all of the following:

  • physical effects, including dizziness, head pain, vomiting and nausea
  • cognitive effects, include memory loss and poor concentration and awareness
  • behavioural effects, including slowed responses and poor or diminished social skills, and
  • mental effects, including depression, stress and anxiety.

What is TPD insurance?

Most 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’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 brain disorder or condition do not necessarily 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 condition, 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.

Don’t delay – seek advice now

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.

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.

Please note that this information is intended to provide general guidance only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your individual circumstances. For further information, please contact Littles

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