Updated 19 June 2020
If you have ceased work due to injury or illness you should consider claiming on any disability insurance which is held for you in your superannuation account. However, it can be difficult to work out whether you have any disability cover. So how do you know if you have disability insurance cover?
The starting point is that if you are working (or have worked in the past) there is a high chance that you do have disability insurance cover in your superannuation account (or did have when you were working), which will pay a lump sum payment if you cease work due to injury or illness. The cover can be in place even if you didn’t apply for it or without you knowing that it is in place.
The most common types of disability insurance cover held in superannuation are:
- total and permanent disability (“TPD”) insurance;
- income protection or salary continuance insurance; and
- death insurance.
If you have ceased work due to illness or illness, you should check to see if you have any insurance cover. The starting point should be your superannuation statements. Each year, superannuation funds issue all of their members with a statement which sets out how their investments have performed in the preceding year, what fees they are paying on their accounts and, importantly, what insurance cover is held in their account.
Claims can be made on old or inactive accounts and people can claim on more than one policy/account. It’s important that you focus on any old accounts as well as active accounts.
However, it is really important to understand that it is usually not the amount of insurance which is active on your account at the time that you claim or make enquiries that you will be entitled to; it is the amount of cover that was in place on the day that you last worked.
- You are seriously injured in May 2016
- You have TPD insurance in your super account but you’re not aware of this
- You stop work in June 2016 and have not returned to work
- In May 2018, you find out that you have insurance within super
- The insurance amount available to you is the amount which was in place in June 2016, not the amount in May 2018 (which is likely to be less)
This is a really important point to remember if you are told by your insurer or super fund that you don’t have any insurance. For this reason, enquires should focus on the cover in place when you last worked, not at the time of the enquiries. This is also important because sometimes when you cease work and superannuation payments stop being paid into your account, your insurance cover can also stop. However, you will still be eligible to claim the insurance that was in place at the time of ceasing work.
Claims for TPD or income protection can be made even years after you last worked. Also, as outlined above, claims for TPD can be made on more than one account and multiple benefits can sometimes be paid. Therefore, if you have ceased work due to injury or illness in the past, you should check to see what cover you with all and any funds you were a member of when you last worked.
If you are unsure of where your superannuation monies are held, enquiries can be made with the ATO or your old employers to try to work this out.
Berrill & Watson are experts in advising people about their superannuation insurance entitlements. We check peoples’ superannuation accounts for free to work out if they had cover when they last worked. If you would like a free superannuation insurance cover check please get in touch.
How we charge
We are Australia's best value superannuation/insurance law firm. Other law firms charge nearly double (& sometimes more than double) what we charge. So, if you get a quote from them, or have a cost agreement, ask us what we will charge you.
Today’s blog writer is superannuation and insurance lawyer, Tom Cobban.