Unable to work due to injury or illness?
If you unable to work due to injury or illness, you may be able to access the funds in your superannuation early. You do not need to prove that the injury or illness was caused by someone else’s negligence, or that it is work-related.
In some cases, you may be able to claim on more than one policy and the financial benefits could be significant.
Most superannuation funds provide cover for Total and Permanent Disability (“TPD”), death or income protection insurance. You may also be able to access your superannuation account balance prior to the usual retirement age if you are permanently incapacitated from working.
Our team of personal injury lawyers can help you make a superannuation, total and permanent disability or life insurance claim. We can also help you contest, challenge or dispute a rejected claim on a No Win-No Fee basis.
We can assist with:
Our Fee Policy in Disability and Insurance Claims
For personal injury claims in the state of South Australia we act for our clients on a No Win-No Fee basis. In other words, unless we are successful in receiving compensation on behalf of the client they will not be charged for the legal work done by our firm or any expenses incurred when investigating the claim. Call 13 43 63 and speak to one of our personal injury lawyers for further information about our No Win-No Fee policy. Conditions do apply.
Our South Australian offices are in Adelaide CBD and Whyalla.
I have suffered an injury and cannot work. Can I claim?
I have suffered an injury and am unable to work. Can I claim?
When you are injured or ill and unable to work or enjoy your usual daily activities, you may have insurance coverage that you are not aware of. If you are the dependent of a deceased loved one, you or the deceased’s estate may also be entitled to claim on insurance.
This can be in the form of total and permanent disability ("TPD") insurance attached to your superannuation, mortgage or other loan insurance, income protection insurance, life insurance or other occupational specific cover.
These benefits are commonly available in addition to any workers or similar compensation you may have received for the injury or illness.
Unlike other claims, when claiming for total and permanent disablement or life coverage you do not need to prove that the injury or illness was caused by someone else or that it is work related. You just need to show that the injury or illness is significant and has affected your ability to earn an income, or has seriously impeded your ability to engage in your daily activities.
We are happy to assist on a speculative or No Win – No Fee basis. Your initial consultation with us is obligation free. You will also be dealing with a partner or senior lawyer in the firm, not a junior lawyer or paralegal.
Types of Claims
What can I claim?
There are 4 broad areas of insurance coverage that may assist when you become injured or ill, or when a loved one dies.
- Total and Permanent Disability (TPD);
- Income Protection (TTD);
- Life Insurance;
- Accident & Trauma.
For some specific occupations, including Commonwealth or State public servants and members of the military, there is also a range of additional benefits available.
If you are injured while travelling you may have coverage through travel insurance. If you have a mortgage or other loan you may also have loan insurance.
Do I need a specialist superannuation lawyer?
If you are concerned about your working future due to your injury, and if you wish to find out if your claim is worthwhile to pursue, the short answer is yes. In reality and from our experience seeing firsthand the bad outcomes that people achieve without lawyers, the answer is absolutely yes. We recommend that you should see specialist insurance claim lawyers like Turner Freeman Lawyers.
How can a lawyer help me with my claim?
A good insurance and TPD lawyer will focus on whether he or she can justify their involvement in the case so that you can be confident that the benefits of using a specialist superannuation lawyer will outweigh or far outweigh the legal costs.
What is the claim process?
Superannuation claims process
Turner Freeman Lawyers make the superannuation claim process of investigating your rights, forming a plan and eventually enlisting the help of a lawyer that little bit easier. Here is a brief outline of how the process works:
- Do some quick research - It’s always wise to do a little reading before embarking on anything that involves superannuation funds or insurance companies.
- Have a free consultation - Calling or sitting down with a legal expert is an extremely important step to take when considering making an application for early superannuation payment or an insurance claim. They will be able to gauge where you stand, what the best course of action is, and what the likely outcome will be.
- Let us take care of the rest - Once you have discussed your matter with your lawyer, they will handle everything, including helping you fill out the forms and letting you know what else you may need to supply to build your claim. If there are any outstanding tasks you need to complete (e.g. attending a medical examination), these will be completed before submitting the paperwork.
Once everything is submitted, all you need to do is wait. Applications can take from weeks up to several months to process depending on the complexity of the case. Knowing that everything has been handled by a highly-qualified, experienced professional should give you peace of mind. Only if your claim is successful will Turner Freeman Lawyers require a fee.
Is there a time limit to lodging my claim?
Time limits to lodging claims
This varies from fund to fund, and from insurer to insurer. While it is sometimes possible to lodge your application as soon as you stop working, you might, alternatively, have to show at least six months off work due to your circumstances. It is recommended that you seek legal help to ensure you are meeting all the correct requirements.
If I go ahead with a claim how long will it take and how much will it cost?
Time limit for receiving payments
In most cases, claims are finalised and paid out within two to three months (sooner for income protection insurance claims), but this depends on the complexity of the claim and whether you have met all the criteria.
If we advise that you have reasonable prospects of success and that the claim is economically worthwhile to purse, we will send you a proper written advice and a proposal. Our proposal will set out, in plain English, a realistic estimate of how long we believe your case will take to resolve and the likely cost.
Generally speaking, most claims are able to be resolved within two to three months from when the claim starts. If the case goes to trial (which is highly unlikely) this can add a further six to 12 months to the time estimate.
If your case has to go to court, it will cost more than if it is accepted first up by the superannuation fund or settles at an early stage. The more work that is done results in higher fees; however, we always do whatever we can to keep costs as low as possible. All of this is explained in our written advice along with realistic and reliable fee estimates.
Our fee estimates are usually at least 20% lower than our competitors from our past experience.
Also, we agree to charge a fixed fee including all expenses for the initial stage of the claim up to receipt of a decision from the superannuation fund so you have certainty as to what your costs will be.
How much will I get?
This will depend on the type of insurance cover you have and how much you are insured for. This information is usually included in the fine print of your policy or statements.
What if I have multiple super accounts or insurance policies?
Multiple accounts and multiple insurance policies
As long as each of your current funds or accounts are independent from the other, you should be able to claim superannuation and related insurance policies on any or all of them at the same time. We can assist you to find any lost superannuation accounts using various ‘find my super’ tools to ensure you get the best result possible.
We will also investigate all accounts and you may be entitled to rollover some accounts into one to make the process of accessing your money simpler. We will refer you to a professional financial adviser if you do not have one to make sure your superannuation investment is maximised and protected. Please note, we do not provide financial advice and it is prudent to seek advice from a qualified professional on financial or tax matters to do with your superannuation.
Will I have to pay tax on the money I receive?
Tax on the amount you receive
If you are withdrawing your funds before your Preservation Age (the ‘lockout’ age on your super policy – usually 65), you are likely to be taxed on it. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, such as in cases of terminal illness. It is a good idea to contact a finance or tax professional and go through your policy and your circumstances so you know where you stand.
Will my claim affect other benefits such as Centrelink or WorkCover?
Centrelink and WorkCover benefits
These types of claims do not usually impact on WorkCover benefits, however, if you have already received WorkCover benefits then your entitlement to superannuation insurance may be reduced as a result. In some cases, you can receive both; it just depends on your policy.
Because money received from your superannuation can count as income, payments may affect how much you receive from Centrelink. You should contact your legal professional or Centrelink to find out what impact the claim will have on your benefits.
What happens if my claim is refused?
If your claim is rejected
It is possible to appeal a decision that goes against you, either in court or by lodging a request for reconsideration. It is extremely important that you call upon experienced, expert superannuation lawyers to help you through whatever action you decide to take. It is also possible to lodge a complaint with an industry tribunal or the financial ombudsman service if you believe you have been unfairly treated.
What if I don't meet these criteria? Can I access my Super early?
You may be able to access your Superannuation early from a Financial Hardship
The law states that you may also be able to claim super early if you are suffering from extreme financial hardship, or if there are specific compassionate grounds such as significant and unexpected medical costs, being at risk of losing your home, paying for palliative care or for funeral expenses for a dependent. You should contact your superannuation fund and the Department of Human Services.
What is Financial Hardship?
If you are suffering financial hardship, you may be able to access your superannuation early. The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) have systems in place to help those in dire financial need.
- urgently need money to pay for medical expenses, disability-related expenses, palliative care or funeral expenses;
- have been receiving Centrelink payments for at least six months and cannot meet your day-to-day expenses;
- risk your home being sold by your mortgage lender; then you may be able to gain early access to your stored super.
You should contact the Department of Human Services direct on 1300 131 060 to see if you qualify and also speak to your superannuation fund.
Will Turner Freeman act for me on a No Win-No Fee basis and what does No Win-No Fee mean?
Turner Freeman Lawyers No Win-No Fee policy
After we have investigated your claim at no obligation to you, we will then make a decision about whether we would be prepared to act for you on a No Win–No Fee basis. At that time, we will provide you with a proper written advice regarding your prospects of success and whether we are prepared to act for you on a No Win–No Fee basis.
Under our usual terms and conditions, No Win–No Fee simply means that we if take your case on, we will only be paid a reasonable fee for the legal work we have done for you at the end of the claim if you win.
In the highly unlikely event that your claim goes to trial and you lose, we will not seek to charge you anything for all of the work we have done for you. However, it is likely that the court would order you to pay the other side’s legal costs, which could be a substantial sum.
If we act for you on a No Win–No Fee basis, we will pay for all expenses such as expert fees, doctors’ reports, court filing fees and so on.