Disability and insurance claims in Victoria
Are you unable to work due to injury or illness? You may be able to access your Superannuation early. You also do not need to prove that the injury or illness was caused by someone else, or that it is work related.
Unable to work due to injury or illness? You may be able to access your Superannuation early.
Most superannuation funds provide cover for Total and Permanent Disablement (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.
About our disability claims expert
Our Superannuation, Disability & Insurance claims department is led by Adam Tayler, who has over 20 years experience in all facets of insurance, TPD and personal injury claims. Adam and his team have helped many individuals and businesses in disputes with insurance companies and will help you take the worry out of making a claim.
How we can help
We can assist you in all of the following areas:
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Claims
Income Protection or Total and Temporary Disablement (TTD)
Life Insurance or Death Benefits
Disability Claims Litigation
Get in touch with us
Turner Freeman Lawyers can help you with your Superannuation, Disability & Insurance compensation claims. We can also help you contest, challenge or dispute a rejected claim on a ‘No Win No Fee‘ basis.
Contact us today on 13 43 63 to see how we can help you.
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 & Permanent Disability (TPD)
- Income Protection (TTD)
- Life Insurance
- Accident and 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.
If you have a very serious injury which clearly precludes you from working and will do so forever, you may not or probably don’t need to see a lawyer. However, your first consultation with us is free so we advise all our clients and potential clients to seek advice at the earliest possible time to remove any doubt or worry about your rights or where you stand.
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 Super 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 super 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 worked everything out 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 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 (2) to three (3) 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 2 to 3 months from when the claim starts. If the case goes to trial (which is highly unlikely) this can add a further 6 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 super 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 super 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 super 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 55), 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 super insurance may be reduced as a result. In some cases you can receive both; it just depends on your policy.
Because any 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 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 super fund and the Department of Human Services.
What is Financial Hardship?
If you are suffering through 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 super 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 in the even more unlikely event that your case goes all the way 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 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.