If you have worked for an employer at some point since 1992, they have likely paid compulsory superannuation payments to a superannuation fund on your behalf. If you have worked for multiple employers, you may have multiple superannuation accounts. Many people dismiss superannuation, often because the funds are not generally accessible until retirement age. Nonetheless, it is your money and can total a significant sum.
Are you in a sticky situation?
Superannuation can also be accessed in difficult times. You might not even realise it, but your superannuation may have a super power. Super funds often have insurance policies to assist the individual in their time of need.
This type of insurance – including income protection and total and permanent disability insurance – could be attached to your fund. This means that your fund could be automatically taking out and maintaining an insurance policy on your behalf. Your superannuation money is used to pay the annual policy premium.
Income Protection Insurance
Income protection insurance is a common superannuation policy. Each policy will have its own terms, but generally you need to prove that you are medically unable to complete your usual work duties in order to obtain monthly payments. The payments do not come from your accrued superannuation. They can continue for a long period of time if you are consistently unable to work. The payments will usually represent a percentage of your average income, often 75%.
Some people have their own private income protection insurance. The same principles apply to these types of policies. Depending on the terms of each income protection insurance policy, sometimes you can make multiple claims if you have several policies.
Can I pursue an injury compensation claim and receive income protection?
Someone pursuing a Queensland motor vehicle compensation claim can often utilise income protection insurance to get by while their claim is running and they can’t work.
Total and Permanent Disability Insurance
Total and permanent disability or ‘TPD’ insurance can provide a lump sum payment if you are unable to return to work due to your injuries. This must be work that you are reasonably educated, trained or experienced for. The lump sum payments are often large.
If you receive compensation from another source, including motor compensation, this will not prevent you from making a TPD claim. Often injured people can pursue both actions, recovering numerous payments.
Remember these three keys:
There are a few things to remember when it comes to receiving payments to help with your loss of income:
1) Check if you have multiple super funds
Remember, multiple superannuation accounts will likely mean you have multiple insurance policies: this could mean you are entitled to multiple payments.
If you don’t know if you have superannuation, or if you suspect you may have multiple superannuation accounts, you can complete a search with the Australian Taxation Office – either online, or by telephoning the ATO.
2) A denied claim doesn’t have to be the end of the road
For various reasons insurers can deny insurance claims. It is important to know that such decisions are reviewable and legal advice should be obtained as soon as possible if your claim is rejected. Often denied claims are successfully disputed with legal assistance.
3) Has your employer failed to make compulsory super payments?
If you suspect that an employer has failed to pay superannuation contributions on your behalf, you should speak with the company directly. You can also commence a dispute with the ATO in order to recover unpaid contributions.