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What is a total and permanent disability TPD claim?


What is a TPD claim?

You should lodge a TPD claim if you cease work and cannot work anymore because of injury or illness, or both. TPD means “total and permanent disability”. TPD insurance claims are usually available through your superannuation fund. 

Do I have TPD cover?

Pretty much everyone who has worked has at least one super fund. Most super funds offer insurance cover that enables you to make a TPD claim, death benefits claim and income protection claim if you become sick or injured (or for death benefits in the event of death) and can no longer work.

An income protection claim provides monthly benefits which replace your wages while you are incapacitated for work and give you some income to live off.

There are thousands of super funds in Australia and they all have different insurance arrangements and entitlements. Knowing and understanding precisely what your fund offers is important.

Berrill & Watson can help you with that initial investigation, free of charge!

What do I need to make a TPD claim?

To make a successful total and permanent disability/TPD claim, you usually need to show that you can’t work doing your old job, or another job taking into account your education, training and experience ever again.

Sometimes, you also need to show that you aren’t able to be retrained into another different job. As we said, every fund is different with different entitlements and different requirements or thresholds to be met.

Every fund/insurer has slightly different claim requirements.

Generally speaking, to make a claim, you will need to complete the claim forms which the insurance company requires be completed. The claim forms usually include a statement which you complete, a statement that your old employer completes and one or two statements to be completed by your treating doctors.

In most cases, if you have the support of your treating doctors, you have a good chance of successfully bringing your claim. If your claim is successful you are usually paid a lump sum which is additional to the amount you have saved in your super, which is called your account balance.

How much will I get for my TPD insurance claim?

The amount that you are entitled to claim will depend on the insurance arrangements in your specific super fund(s). The amount of the benefit is usually worked out based on how old you are when you cease work. If you have more than one super fund, you might be able to make more than one claim. You can learn more about this in our article “If I win my super TPD claim, will I be paid the full benefit?

Helping people understand their entitlements and what they might be able to claim is a very important part of what we do. Importantly, we always check what insurance cover you had when you last worked, not the cover that you have at the time of our enquiry. This is because the amount of the insurance benefit available to you changes over time and in some cases, your insurance can stop without you even knowing. This means that even if your super fund is telling you that you have no insurance cover, it's worth getting advice.

The cause of the illness or injury doesn’t usually matter. Importantly, 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 including:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS);
  • Cancer;
  • Parkinson’s Disease;
  • Stroke;
  • Kidney/Renal failure;
  • Mental Health issues;
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome;
  • Fibromyalgia; and many other illnesses.

Can I have a workers compensation claim at the same time as a TPD claim?


If you have a workers compensation claim or a compensation claim from a motor vehicle accident, you can usually also claim a TPD benefit.

Unlike compensation claims, the time limits regarding TPD insurance claims are very different. You are probably still able to claim even if you stopped work over a decade ago. We have acted for people who stopped working in the 90’s and who were still able to claim.

What if I’m on Centrelink?

Many people who are receiving Centrelink benefits are also able to claim.

Anyone who is on the DSP or on the JobSeeker payment with a work exemption should consider what insurance benefits they have in their superannuation which they may be eligible to claim. Not only can we help you find your super funds, but we can also claim your superannuation TPD benefits.

Can I claim my superannuation insurance benefits if I was a casual worker or only work part-time before I stopped?


Even if you are employed as a casual or only worked in a reduced capacity prior to ceasing work, you may still be entitled to TPD and income protection benefits. If you’re unsure of what benefits you had when you last worked, we recommend you get in touch and we will check for free.

Can I claim superannuation insurance benefits for mental illness or mental health conditions?


If you have ceased work due to mental illness or mental health conditions you can still claim on superannuation-based insurance benefits for TPD and income protection. What is important is that you have ceased work due to your illness.  You can read more about super TPD claims and mental health here.

Get help

If you would like to have a free chat about your possible entitlements, give the Super Lawyers a call. We conduct all investigations free of charge, and act in all TPD insurance claims on a “no win, no fee basis”.

You can contact us directly by phone or email. It costs you nothing to find out what your rights and entitlements are.


Melbourne: 03 9448 8048

Brisbane: 07 3013 4300

Anywhere else in Australia:  03 9448 8048


[email protected]

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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.

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