What you need to know about TPD insurance when it comes to Parkinson’s disease

It is estimated that around 80,000 people in Australia living with Parkinson’s disease – and that one in five are diagnosed before the age of 50. We know that Parkinson’s can impact people in different ways. Many people find treatment effective, and are able to continue to work. However, for others treatments may be less successful, or cease being effective after a long period. If you, or someone you know, has Parkinson’s and 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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How does Parkinson's affect people?

Parkinson’s is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. Symptoms usually emerge slowly, affecting balance and movement. The severity of the symptoms you suffer if you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease can vary widely, from a minor tremor to more serious and frequent involuntary movements, which can impact every aspect of your life. Treatment often takes the form of medication or surgery. Even if effective, debilitating side-effects of the medication or surgery can impact your cognition and work capacity.

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Can I make a TPD claim if I have Parkinson's Disease?

You can make a successful TPD or income protection claim if you have Parkinson’s. A successful claim for TPD relating to Parkinson’s will require that you show that the symptoms of your illness have caused you to cease work that you are qualified to do, and are permanently unable to return to that work.

You’ll also need to provide medical evidence from your treating doctors. In the case of Parkinson’s, it is best to seek an opinion from your neurologist and from your GP about your work capacity now and in the future

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 am 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 Parkinson’s 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 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.

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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 upront 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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