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Stuart Barnett is our mining industry’s leading personal injury lawyer. This month he has some important advice about accessing your Superannuation after Total and Permanent Disability.

Members of Superannuation funds will often have a basic level of Total and Permanent Disability Insurance, often referred to as TPD. Some members will have applied for additional or increased TPD insurance benefits. You pay a premium out of your Superannuation fund for TPD insurance. If you are unsure about what coverage you have it would be sensible to check with your Fund.

Total and Permanent Disability benefits may be available to a fund member who has coverage in circumstances where they are unlikely to ever work again. An example of a current definition of TPD includes circumstances where the insured is unlikely to ever work again in employment for which they are reasonably qualified by education, training and experience. It is important to note that definitions vary between Funds and even vary within the same Fund, depending upon when the TPD insurance was taken out. It is recommended as part of your regular financial reviews that you check the definition that applies to you.

Your Fund will have appropriate application forms to apply for TPD benefits and will require certification for your doctors. Once you meet the requirements of the Fund for TPD benefits the amount of the benefit will be credited to your Superannuation account.

It is very important to understand that just because you meet your Funds TPD guidelines and the benefit is transferred to your account it does not automatically mean that you will have access to the money.

Federal law requires that in order to access the benefit you must meet a “condition of release” under the super law. Whilst meeting your funds definition of TPD may also mean that you meet the condition of release it does not always follow.

TPD Insurance Benefits and definitions may vary from fund to Fund and indeed within the same Fund depending on such things as when you took out coverage, your job classification and whether you have increased your coverage. For that reason check your entitlements with your Fund.

May I also take this opportunity to wish readers and their family and friends a merry Christmas and happy New Year. In particular stay safe, this time of year can be a period where accidents happen as people relax and, for example, hit the road. I look forward to providing you with useful information in the new year.

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