Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance is designed to provide financial support to people who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses and are unable to return to work.
But there are many examples of where someone may be deemed totally and permanently disabled, yet they later rejoin the workforce.
For example, new medications, therapies and rehabilitation techniques could alleviate symptoms of physical and mental illnesses. Someone could also retrain in a different profession that doesn’t have the same demands as their previous job.
So what happens if you’ve previously received a TPD lump sum payment from your superannuation fund or insurer, but you go back to being employed at a later date? First, let’s see how frequently this issue occurs.
How many TPD claimants return to work?
A SunSuper survey of TPD recipients in 2015 found that 36 per cent of successful claimants were able to return to work after recovering from a disability.
Investment Magazine published the firm’s data, which was based on 330 people aged between 41 and 60 years old, all of whom had received a settlement within the last five years.
The figures confirmed 19 per cent of respondents had started part-time work, while 3 per cent were back in full-time employment. A further 14 per cent were looking for a job.
Following the survey, SunSuper adapted its TPD offerings so that some claimants stopped receiving lump sums and were instead given payments over a six-year period.
These policyholders are now reassessed every year to gauge their level of disability and rehabilitation needs.
Will I have to pay my settlement back?
Currently, if you have already received a lump sum payment from a TPD claim, you can often return to work at a later date without repaying back the money. We recently won a TPD claim after our claimant returned to work.
When a compensation matter is settled, both parties sign a deed of release that finalises the claim and resolves the matter. This should prevent an insurer from trying to seek reimbursement for a previously paid claim, unless evidence of fraud comes to light.
However, every TPD policy is different and you should contact a superannuation disputes lawyer to confirm how your settlement would be affected if you later recover from your injuries or illness.
There is also a possibility that other insurers will follow in SunSuper’s footsteps and begin implementing structured payouts for TPD claimants, which could halt benefits for those who re-enter the workforce.
Getting your TPD Payout
To qualify for a total permanent disability (TPD) payout, you must be unable to work in the same capacity as before the accident or event that caused you to file a claim. In this situation, receiving the appropriate compensation could be vital, as it helps to make up for lost income and pay for needs like medical bills and legal fees.
It can be frustrating to wait for a compenstaion you know you deserve and need badly. Here are some of the best ways to ensure a quick and smooth process, so you can get your payout as soon as possible.
How to get a TPD payout
TPD is a classification that insurers use for an employee who has a serious personal injury or illness that renders them from working in the same capacity as before. A TPD insurance benefit is normally available through a superannuation fund, which also covers death and income protection.
Each person’s superannuation fund and TPD insurance cover different incidents, so it’s important to know what’s included in yours. A legal representative or lawyer can help you determine the specifics if you are unsure.
In addition to your super fund, you may have TPD coverage through:
- Life insurance.
- Income protection insurance.
- Mortgage protection or loan protection insurance.
- Employment disability and/or trauma coverage.
- Sickness or accident policies.
The first step to getting your payout is to find out if you meet the requirements to receive a TPD benefit. The requirements are not the same across the board and it’s important to note that your level of disability will impact the amount of compensation you receive. The disability can be physical or mental, as both can impact your ability to work, a detrimental cost.
It may seem like a daunting task, but a TPD lawyer has the experience and knowledge to help maximise your compensation amount. They can also assist you in filling out the claim form, which is the next step in the process. A lawyer is a beneficial partner in filing a claim, as they can ensure that everything is in order to support a smoother process.
You may be wondering what kind of payout you can expect from your TPD claim. As previously stated, both the information included in the claim as well as your medical condition will impact the payout you receive. However, if you forget to add certain information to the TPD claim, or just don’t know how to complete the form correctly, you could be missing out on the compensation you are entitled to.
The amount of money that a beneficiary receives drastically depends on each individual case. On average, a TPD claim pays out a lump sum between $60,000 and $300,000 based on the size of the TPD policy, assuming the requirements for the compensation claim are met.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example of a payout that a client of Gerard Malouf & Partners was able to maximise their payout. Our client, Mr. K, was last employed as a coal miner, when he became injured during the course of his employment. His accident resulted in nerve impingement in the spine and he continued to suffer from lower back pain, right leg pain and paraesthesia. In terms of mental health, he found himself suffering from secondary depression and anxiety.
When Mr. K came to our firm, it was extremely unlikely that he would return to work at all because of the injuries that he sustained. By partnering with the knowledgeable professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners, he could depend on experienced professionals to prepare his TPD claims in line with his various super funds and the compensation totaled over $126k. This is just one example of a successful claim that brought forth a TPD benefit that the victim desperately needed.
Correctly filing a claim
One of the most important tasks in terms of getting the most out of your TPD payout, is filing out your TPD insurance claim correctly. If something is wrong your claim could lead to a far lower payout, or even be rejected completely. So, what needs to be included in the claim paperwork? A lawyer can help you manage all the different components of your claim, but it is helpful to have an idea before going in.
You will need to include evidence to support the claim, including at least some of the following:
- Physician statements.
- Medical records.
- Work history.
- Medical evidence.
- Doctors’ reports.
- Employment history.
- Disability level.
- Medication condition.
- Superannuation cover.
These documents are a crucial part of the puzzle, as they can substantially impact the amount of compensation you are granted and how quickly you receive it. Keep in mind that you can file multiple claims at once if need be. This can help you get the most out of your super fund. If you have the right lawyers and up-to-date policies, there is a good chance that you could file more than one successful TPD claim at once.
Because legal counsel is such an extremely important component for those who want to file a claim, you may wonder if the fees are worth a disability lawyer. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have a no-win, no-fee policy, which means that you’ll only pay legal fees once you receive compensation.
In order to realise your maximum disability benefit, you should be aware of the time requirements associated with filing a TPD claim. For instance there is a waiting period that must be followed before moving forward with the claim. The waiting period is the amount of time that you have been away from work and while the time limit differs for each situation, it’s normally about three to six months.
After the waiting period, file the claim as soon as you can. If there are no hitches in the process, the claim should be resolved by your insurer within two to three months of receiving the relevant forms and documentation from medical professionals. There have been instances where the settlement was reached within one month of its lodgement, though this is rare.
The most important element in determining the benefit amount is the content of the claim. Make sure that papers, statements or other documents are filed correctly. An error can not only make the file take significantly longer, but also potentially affect your compensation amount.