1 MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE DISABILITY BENEFITS
2 02 MAURICE BLACKBURN YOU RE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. If you are hurt, injured, or are facing an unfair situation, you and your family shouldn t have to suffer. That s why we never stand back when bad things happen to good people. At Maurice Blackburn we believe that the law should serve everyone. Who you are or where you re from, it doesn t matter. You re worth fighting for. Maurice Blackburn was born from one man s belief in making a difference to people s lives. Nearly 100 years on these values remain a powerful influence on everything we do. We exist to fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to. Because at Maurice Blackburn, we fight for fair.
3 03 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE Superannuation & Disability Insurance Superannuation and insurance can be really confusing and claiming can be difficult. It s important to know your rights before you claim or before something goes wrong. Read on to find out about your super and insurance benefits, and how you can claim them. Compulsory super Since 1992, work super has been compulsory in Australia. All employers must pay contributions of 9% of salary into a super fund for employees who earn at least $450 per month. Contributions must be paid at least every three months. Disability benefits you can claim Most super funds also have disability benefits. So too do many insurance policies, such as income protection, sickness and accident, mortgage protection and life insurance policies. If you have an injury or illness, you might have a claim. Many people on workers compensation or Centrelink can claim. Most people don t know their super or insurance rights. To find out, contact Maurice Blackburn for free advice and help. What is my super? Benefits Statements You should get a Benefits Statement from your super fund every year. The statement will show what payments you can get but sometimes they re hard to understand. If you re not sure of your benefits or can t find any statements, contact Maurice Blackburn for help. Types of super benefits There are different benefits you can get if you leave work: contributions the money paid into the super fund by you or your employer plus interest permanent disability benefits usually an insurance lump sum plus the contributions paid if you are permanently disabled, and temporary disability benefits monthly payments if you can t do your usual job. When you start work, your employer should give you forms to fill in to join a super fund. You might have a choice of funds. When picking a fund, check the disability and death benefits.
4 04 MAURICE BLACKBURN When can I get my super? Super contributions made by you before July 1999 can be paid when you leave a fund. However, employer contributions must usually stay in a super fund until you retire after age 55 or 60. The exceptions are: if you ve been on Centrelink payments for at least six months and can t pay your living expenses (or nine months if you re over 55 years and nine months old) you need money because your house is about to be sold by a bank or other lender you need money for certain medical, transport, palliative care or funeral expenses for you or a dependant you can show other limited compassionate grounds you are a temporary resident and leave Australia permanently you are permanently incapacitated you have a terminal illness (less than 12 months to live) your account balance is $200 or less, or you are over the minimum retirement age, still working and take out an annuity or pension. Contact Maurice Blackburn for help. Superannuation disability benefits Disability benefits are in most super funds, but not all. Call Maurice Blackburn and we will check for you (at no charge). Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) benefits You don t have to be unfit for all work only for your usual job or other suitable work that fits your education, training or experience. For example, if you ve got a bad back and you ve only ever worked as a labourer or process worker, you will only have to show that you can t do manual work again to get the disability lump sum. It doesn t matter if your doctors say that you could do office work, if you haven t done that type of work before. Does my disability have to be work-related? No. Unlike workers compensation, your injury/illness doesn t have to be workrelated. A heart attack, cancer, mental illness, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or an injury suffered at home or in a car accident, can be used for your disability claim. What if it s an old injury/illness? It usually doesn t matter if you had the injury or illness before you joined the super fund. When can I claim? There is usually no time limit to make a claim. Even if you have already been paid your superannuation contributions, you might still be able to make a disability claim later. In fact, your estate can even make a disability claim after you die. However, it s a good idea to make a claim as soon as possible.
5 05 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE We help people, most of whom are in very difficult financial situations, with superannuation, insurance and death benefit claims. Our lawyers fight to get money for these people. John Berrill Head of Superannuation and Insurance Claims department How do I claim? Write to your super fund to make a disability claim. They will send out claim forms and ask you to send in medical reports and other information to prove your claim. They may also send you to a doctor. It will usually take many months before a decision is made. It s very important to give the right information and reports to help your claim. Maurice Blackburn can help you with a TPD claim. What if the super fund rejects my claim? The super fund s decision is not final. If the fund says no, you can ask them to change the decision and send in more medical reports. If the fund still refuses your claim, you can appeal their decision to a court or tribunal. Most appeals win or settle. Contact Maurice Blackburn for a free appointment to help you through the process. Temporary disability benefits Many super funds also pay monthly benefits if you can t do your usual job. These payments can be up to 75% of your wage, and can be paid for two years or more. Most payments are reduced if you get workers compensation weekly payments. Under some policies, the payments stop if your job finishes or if you re paid compensation or a lump sum, but not always. Can I have more than one claim? Yes, you can have two or more lump sum claims. You can also usually have a lump sum claim and monthly payments. However, monthly payments may be reduced by other insurance monthly payments. Workers compensation and super In most states, a super payout will not affect your workers compensation rights. However, in Victoria, if you receive a super lump sum, your workers compensation weekly payments might stop for a number of weeks. However, if you put the money in a rollover fund and keep it there, your weekly payments will continue. You can get the insurance part of a disability payment without it stopping your WorkCover weekly payments. If you are paid a super pension, your workers compensation weekly payments may be reduced. It s really important to get advice before you are paid. This currently only applies under the Victorian workers compensation scheme and not any other states.
6 06 MAURICE BLACKBURN Income protection insurance Many self-employed people, managers, subcontractors and workers have income protection to cover them if they can t work. What are my benefits? Income protection benefits start after a waiting period and can continue for up to two or five years, to age 65 or maybe for life, depending on the super fund. The benefits might be a set monthly amount or a percentage of your salary. They are paid if you can t do your usual job or maybe part of your job. Partial disability benefits can be paid if you go back to part time work. Benefits might be reduced if you get compensation payments or Centrelink payments but not always. Having problems with your claim? Many people have problems with income protection claims, particularly if they ve been on payments for some time. You might have problems getting payments, be sent to unsympathetic doctors or get mucked around by the insurance company. If this happens to you, contact Maurice Blackburn for help. Your lawyers went above and beyond their necessary job roles. They treated me with the greatest respect and service, and they achieved my goals with the utmost care and courtesy. Superannuation client
8 08 MAURICE BLACKBURN Other insurance benefits You might have other insurance or super policies that also pay disability benefits. Many employers arrange income protection of lump sum insurance benefits for their employees or subcontractors (eg. Incolink, Protect, IUS). Some people have their own super or life insurance policies that might include disability lump sums or premium waiver benefits. Some people also have trauma insurance policies that pay lump sums if you have particular disabilities (eg. MS, cancer, heart attack, stroke) even if you can still work. Banks and credit companies ask customers to take out insurance to cover mortgages or loans if they can t keep up the repayments because of injury or illness. Some unions, credit unions and sporting and social clubs have disability insurance for their members. Call Maurice Blackburn to check if it s possible for you to claim. If my claim is rejected, can I appeal? Yes. Claim forms, medical reports and other information will have to be given to the insurance company for your claim. It can take many months before a decision is made. The insurance company might tell you there are time limits for making a claim, but that is usually wrong. If your claim is rejected or if you re mucked around, you can make a complaint and then appeal to a court or ombudsman. Most appeals win or settle. It s important to get help with a claim or appeal. Government superannuation funds State and Federal public servants have been covered by specific superannuation schemes for many years. State superannuation State superannuation schemes such as: NSW State Authority Super and First State Super Vic ESSS and VicSuper Qld QSuper WA Gold State Super and GESB SA Super SA Tas Retirement Benefits Fund, and NT NT Government Super. Pay life time pensions or lumps sums if you are permanently unfit for work or die, or temporary pensions if you can t work in the short term. Commonwealth superannuation Most federal public servants are members of: The Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) Public Sector Super (PSS) PSS Accumulation Plan (PSSAP) Military Super and Benefits Scheme (MSBS), or The Australian Government Employees Superannuation Trust (AGEST). The CSS, PSS and MSBS are generous defined benefit funds which include invalidity benefits usually paid as lifetime pensions if you are permantely unfit for your usual job or any other suitable work.
9 09 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE Where can I appeal? Under the MSBS the rate of the invalidity pension depends on the severity of your disability. AGEST and PSSAP are accumulated contributions schemes which include total and permanent disability and death insurance lump sums and temporary disability insurance payments. Claims Maurice Blackburn has the largest and most experienced Superannuation team in Australia. We ll fight to win your claim and clearly explain your rights and entitlements. Government superannuation disability benefit claims are basically made the same way as other super schemes, although different time limits can apply. Contact Maurice Blackburn for help. You can appeal against decisions by super funds and insurance companies. Courts You can appeal most super and insurance decisions to the courts except for decisions of some Government super funds. There is usually a six year time limit for filing a court case, but when the six year period starts can vary. With some superannuation cases the time limit is up to 15 years. Most court cases win or settle. If your claim is rejected, contact Maurice Blackburn for a free appointment and help. Superannuation Complaints Tribunal You can appeal a decision of a super fund to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. The Tribunal can change the decision if it s unfair or unreasonable. Before you can go to the Tribunal, you must ask the super fund to change its decision. If it doesn t do this within 90 days, you can appeal to the Tribunal. With most total and permanent disability (TPD) claims, an appeal must be made within two years of permanently stopping work and the first rejection of the claim. However, these time limits are about to change. If the Tribunal can t help with your claim, you might still be able to go to court. Time limits apply. Contact Maurice Blackburn for help with your Tribunal complaint.
10 10 MAURICE BLACKBURN Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) If you re mucked around by an insurance company, you can appeal to a court or an insurance complaints scheme. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can deal with complaints against life insurers on total and permanent disability (TPD) or income protection claims, and complaints against general insurers on sickness and accident disability claims. You have the right to take your case to court if you re not happy with the decision of the FOS. Many complaints win or settle. Contact Maurice Blackburn for a free appointment and help. Help It s really important to get expert advice and help with any superannuation or insurance disability and death claims. Maurice Blackburn has helped thousands of people get hundreds of millions of dollars in super benefits. Checklist for superannuation or insurance claims Have you stopped work? Are you on a Centrelink Disability Support Pension? Are you on a workers or motor vehicle accident compensation? Have you ever had: employment super? income protection insurance? employment disability insurance? private super? life insurance? mortgage protection insurance? trauma insurance? If you answered yes to any of the above (or if you re not sure), contact Maurice Blackburn to check for a possible claim. Maurice Blackburn has the largest superannuation and insurance legal practice in Australia. We have offices in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA, and visiting offices in the other states and territories. We can make an appointment to see you at our local office. We re experts in tracking down your super and will take on your claim on a no win, no fee* basis. To check if you have a super claim, call our helpline More information is also available on our super and insurance website mauriceblackburn.com.au. *Conditions apply
11 CONTACT US If you are considering legal action or want to fight for your rights, get in touch and we can assess what you need or arrange for a meeting with one of our lawyers. For most practice areas, your first consultation is free (business hours) mauriceblackburn.com.au Superannuation & Insurance Claims Work Related Injuries Road Accident Injuries Medical Negligence Asbestos Diseases Public Liability Faulty Products Comcare Will Disputes Employment & Industrial Law Class Actions Social Justice You are welcome to drop into one of our offices nationwide. Call us or visit the website for more details: Victorian Offices (03) Melbourne Dandenong Frankston Geelong Greensborough Mildura Reservoir Ringwood Sunshine Traralgon Wangaratta Queensland Offices (07) Brisbane Browns Plains Caboolture Cairns Gold Coast Ipswich Mackay Rockhampton Strathpine Sunshine Coast Toowoomba Townsville NSW Offices (02) Sydney Parramatta Western Australia Office (08) Perth ACT Office (02) Canberra We also have visiting offices in the other states and territories.
12 Maurice Blackburn is a leading Australian law firm certified to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Information correct at 1 April This brochure is a general guide to dealing with Superannuation claims and is not a substitute for professional advice in this area. Maurice Blackburn is proud to be carbon neutral (see our website for details). This brochure is printed on ecostar Silk. Made with 100% certified post consumer waste fibre, it is produced with a carbon neutral manufacturing process and has been made in a facility that operates under the ISO Environmental Management System. MB4184_NATSDIB 06/14
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