Is Australia Sleepwalking Towards a Superannuation Disaster?

Published 16 Nov 2016

Regardless of your age, gender, circumstances, physical location, or even what side of the political fence you happen to find yourself on, superannuation is a hot-button issue that will have a major effect on the quality of your future at some stage.

For such a fundamental part of life, however, it’s been a surprisingly fluid set of arrangements throughout Australian history, and it’s far from certain that we’ve cracked the issue as a country. If anything, we may well be facing into increasingly uncertain times when it comes to future provision. It’s also an area where an unfortunate amount of disputes can arise for ordinary Australians – disputes which have the potential of putting a lifetime’s worth of careful financial planning in jeopardy.

In this piece, we’ll briefly examine national superannuation policy, highlight the nature and amount of potential disputes that can arise, and emphasise the importance of proper representation if you find yourself in dispute. By the time we’re finished, you should have a much clearer idea of the broader superannuation picture and how to handle things if you find yourself in difficulty along the line.

What Does the National Superannuation Picture Look Like?

With over $1.5 trillion tucked away in superannuation assets, you could be forgiven for thinking that the picture is rosy across the board for the country. The reality on the ground, however, is that demographics, policy, and the structure of the industry itself are creating a potential time bomb that future generations may find themselves on the hook for.

In particular, constantly shifting policy and a superannuation industry that’s grown fat on fees have left many Australians extremely uncertain about how well they’re actually going to be covered down the line. Against that backdrop, it’s little surprise that the subject of superannuation claims and disputes is becoming an ever more pressing one.

Are Superannuation Disputes on the Rise?

Though the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal reports that the number of complaints it’s received in 2015-2016 remained stable, the number of enquiries doubled. That’s indicative of a wider trend on the ground that we’ve observed first-hand as superannuation lawyers in Sydney and beyond. In particular, we’ve seen a steady uptick in cases around complex areas such as TPD claims, income protection claims, and death benefits claims.

Points to Bear in Mind if You Find Yourself in a Superannuation Dispute

The key thing to understand if you find yourself involved in a potential superannuation dispute is that there are significant forces ranged against on the insurance company side of the equation who will be actively seeking to minimise potential payouts. It’s imperative that you seek expert advice as soon as possible to make sure you receive what a lifetime’s work has actually entitled you too.

It’s also worth stressing that superannuation disputes often touch on wildly divergent areas of policy and law where very different time frames, time limits, and legislation apply. You need a team of topic experts on your side in order to navigate these waters effectively.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers, we’ve got decades of experience in helping clients handle all manner of complex superannuation claims, and are proud to stand behind our success rate of 98% for our clients. If you’re facing into a potential superannuation claim, we urge you to take advice of a completely free consultation with one of our experts before going any further.