What is Total and Permanent Disability Insurance?

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Insurance provides for you financially if you are to become permanently disabled due to an accident or illness. There are two main types of TPD claims available, known as "own occupation" and "any occupation".

If you have an "own occupation" policy, you must show that your injury or disability has rendered you incapable of working in your own occupation.

If you have an "any occupation" policy, you must show that your injury or disability has rendered you incapable of working in any capacity in any occupation for which you are reasonably suited, based on your previous education, skills, training, and experience.

TPD Insurance provides you with a lump sum payment which can be accessed to assist you meet the costs of living, to be able to access medical and rehabilitation treatment and provide you and your family with financial security for your future.

The amount of your TPD benefit will depend on the terms of the policy that your superannuation provider has arranged with the insurer. You can check the benefit amount on your policy statement, or alternatively by asking your superannuation provider directly. This article explains what a total and permanent disability claim is and how Tasmanians can make such a claim.

How do I know if I have TPD Insurance?

Most superannuation funds have a TPD insurance benefit as part of your fund. To check if you have TPD insurance, you can download a recent statement and check for "TPD", or alternatively contact your superannuation fund and ask them.

Do I have to have suffered an injury to lodge a TPD claim?

A TPD claim can be brought in any situation where an injury, disability, or illness has prevented you from working. Unlike other insurance policies, such as workers compensation or motor accident insurance, you do not need to prove that your injury or illness was caused by your work or a specific event.

Examples of successful TPD claims that Carroll & O'Dea Lawyers have run in the past include claims for injuries sustained at home or playing sport, claims for psychological injuries, and for chronic illnesses such as cancer.

A claim can be made if the injury or illness will permanently prevent you from working in your normal job or being able to undertake any other work by which you are suited by your education, skills, training, or experience.

Many people receiving workers compensation payments, motor vehicle accident compensation or that are in receipt of a Centrelink Disability Support Pension can also be entitled to make a claim under their TPD insurance.

Does my injury or condition have to be physical?

No. The injury or illness also does not need to be a physical injury. You can also make a TPD claim related to any psychological injury or illness including for example a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorder.

What is the process I need to follow to lodge a claim?

To make a successful application for TPD it is important to seek appropriate legal advice early, to ensure that you have obtained the relevant documents required and have properly considered the definition of total and permanent disability that you are required to satisfy under your policy of insurance. Obtaining legal advice will also ensure that you will receive the full range of any benefit you are entitled to and ensure that you undertake the specific steps required to satisfy the superannuation fund to approve your application.

If you have had a TPD claim, it is also important to obtain legal advice early to see if the decision can be challenged successfully.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.