It has recently been suggested by the Financial Services Council* to put a time limit on when people must lodge their disability claims for total and permanent disablement (TPD), income protection or any other disability insurance from their superannuation.
Existing time limits
Currently there is no time limit which people must lodge their claims after they stopped working, which in many instances can lead to great difficulty in obtaining quality evidence to support the claim. Insurance companies also find it difficult to accurately determine any future obligations.
To introduce a time limit is a practical suggestion; however one must approach it carefully. Exceptions must always be available to those who reasonably unable to lodge their claim within the predefined timeframes. Currently, an extended time limit can be applied if a person becomes aware of a crucial fact about their condition or illness that they did not have access to or did not know earlier. This extension of time for the claimant should remain available:
- If the claimant has been told by their superannuation fund or insurer that they cannot lodge a claim;
- If the person wanting to claim does not know his/her legal rights;
- If the person becomes aware of new information relating to his/her case and relevant to the decision making whether to claim or not.
Proposed time limit
Whilst time limits are different from claim to claim, it is suggested that a period of six (6) years would be deemed appropriate. In Australia, for example in personal injury claims this time limit varies from any number of months to 6 years. In some cases where the injury takes a long time to be discovered, such as in asbestos related disease cases, there is no time limit.
Taking into consideration that there are long waiting periods that apply prior to be able to lodge a claim which can be up to 12 months, any shorter time than 6 years would be too short and would not give the injured person enough time to test their ability for ongoing employment.
Overall, introducing time limits is a good idea and is necessary. However careful consideration of exceptions to the general rule must be well thought out and be fair for those who are unable to continue to work in their usual occupation and providing them with a realistic chance to rehabilitate.
How can Turner Freeman Lawyers help
If your superannuation or insurance claim has been rejected, call us on 1800 683 928 as you may be able to contest, challenge or dispute this decision.
* Article published on Super Review website on 3 April 2014 (www.superreview.com.au/news/regulation/fsc-calls-for-statute-of-limitations)