LawTalk Blog

Am I eligible to receive compensation from my superannuation policy if I suffer a temporary injury or illness?

Temporary illness insurance and income protection through Superannuation

This blog post was updated in February 2020 and can be found here

Many people will experience some illness or injury throughout their working life which will render them incapable of working their usual duties for a period of time.

A catastrophic injury or illness might render someone totally incapacitated for employment, possibly for the rest of their life, but many other injuries or illnesses are not as severe and might only incapacitate someone temporarily.

Some examples of these potentially temporary illnesses/injuries include:

  • Being in a car accident and needing a few months off work to recover;
  • Having a heart attack and heart surgery and the doctor recommends having a period of time off work to recover;
  • Suffering from a condition like multiple sclerosis which might have long periods of remission with few symptoms followed by lengthy periods of relapse, rendering someone unable to perform their work.

These examples above (and many more) might temporarily cause a worker to be unable to attend work for a period of time.

Some superannuation policies have built-in insurance schemes, designed to support workers for periods of incapacity and inability to work. Many workers and policy-holders may not even be aware of the protections included in their superannuation policy.

Importantly, any amount of insurance compensation does not actually come out of your own superannuation funds. The applicable compensation is generally a separate payout, unrelated to the amount of money you might actually have in your superannuation account (known as your account balance).

One such protection may be Total & Temporary Disablement ("TTD") insurance. If this type of insurance exists in your fund, the cause of the injury/illness is generally irrelevant (unlike a workers compensation claim which requires the injured person to prove that the injury arose out of employment).

To qualify for TTD insurance, a policy-holder will likely need to obtain medical evidence to substantiate the injury/illness and this medical evidence should confirm that the injury/illness is indeed incapacitating the policy-holder from employment.

This type of cover provides valuable protection to workers, particularly if they have exhausted all of their statutory leave entitlements, including sick leave and annual leave. The individual policy will likely have its own terms and conditions, as well as exclusions, and it is important that you seek legal advice about your potential entitlements as soon as possible. Waiting periods may also apply before a TTD payment can be processed.

If you have suffered an injury or illness and wish to explore the protections that you may have under your superannuation policy, please get in touch with us. 

Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to Australian Federal legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.

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