Total & Permanent Disability

How do you qualify for permanent disability?

No matter what stage of your career you find yourself in, suffering an injury or illness which renders you either incapable to work in your field, or incapable to work at all, can be a confronting life change.


It’s no surprise then that many people choose to take out permanent disability insurance either with a super fund or through an insurance company directly.

Members of superannuation funds generally have access to three types of insurance: death cover, income protection and total and permanent disability (TPD) cover. If you are seriously injured or are suffering from an illness that is having a lasting impact on your ability to work, you may want to consider making a TPD claim.

What is Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)?

There is no singular definition of TPD – this is a major contributor to the difficulty of superannuation claims. Instead, each superannuation fund will define the term themselves in their policies or trust deeds. Be wary that the definition in your super policy may be overruled by the definition in any relevant group insurance contract to which you may be subject.

Despite being no uniform definition, reg 1.03C of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth) provides a definition of “permanent incapacity”:

“…if a trustee of the fund is reasonably satisfied that the member’s ill?health (whether physical or mental) makes it unlikely that the member will engage in gainful employment for which the member is reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.”

Policies within superannuation funds about TPD are generally required to be consistent with this definition.

Common eligibility criteria

There are usually two distinct types of TPD definitions in super policies:

  1. Where the injury or illness means you are unable to work again in any occupation
  2. Where the injury or illness means you are unable to work again in your usual occupation

Further, it is common for super funds to require that you be incapacitated for at least six months. Some definitions of TPD, particularly where you weren’t previously working, will define a member permanently incapacitated if they are suffering the loss of two or more limbs, the total loss of sight, or if they are unable to complete basic daily living/working activities such as mobility, communication, manual dexterity, vision, lifting etc.

Some insurance groups impose further restrictions on a finding of TPD and will require that a member engages in rehabilitation and active medical treatment for a certain length of time.

What benefits can I claim?

A successful claim for TPD insurance will generally result in a large sum being paid out to cover the immediate costs of rehabilitation, debt repayments and the future cost of living. This is usually in addition to income protection payments and/or early access to super depending on the policy.

LHD Lawyers have superannuation experts, who can ensure you get the compensation entitlements you deserve. Work out whether you qualify for permanent disability and speak to LHD Lawyers’ superannuation specialists who can help you make a claim. Ask us about a free consultation today.

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