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Total & Permanent Disability ("TPD") Insurance - Does your Super Fund provide Default Cover?

What is Total and Permanent Disability (“TPD”) Insurance?

Not many people know or understand that often their superannuation fund provides default cover called “total and permanent disability” insurance (or TPD insurance) which you can claim upon if you are rendered unable to return to work due to injury or illness. This type of cover is separate to your income protection insurance which is more commonly understood.

The purpose of TPD insurance is to provide you with a lump sum payment to assist you to maintain your standard of living if you are unable to continue to work. As the majority of people are unaware that they have this insurance, often they do not ensure that the level of TPD cover is sufficient if something were to happen to them.

Do I have TPD insurance cover?

A quick check of your most recent super fund statement (you may have more than one fund) may be able to confirm whether or not your super fund holds a TPD insurance policy on your behalf. If you are unsure, you can telephone them to confirm. If you do hold TPD insurance, you may be able to access this lump sum if you can demonstrate that you meet the policy criteria. We recommend that you engage in a lawyer who is experienced in accessing these benefits on behalf of their clients.

Am I eligible to claim the TPD lump sum?

The various super funds have different policies which define what TPD means and what renders a person totally and permanently disabled. A review of the policy will need to occur to determine the requirements that need to be satisfied to determine whether you are TPD in accordance with that specific policy. If you satisfy the requirements, medical evidence will need to be obtained to prove that you are unlikely to ever return to work again, at least in your skilled profession (if you have one). The two fundamental requirements that need to be satisfied are:

  • You have a serious injury and/or illness; and

  • As a result of that serious injury and/or illness, you are unlikely to ever return to work, taking into consideration your qualifications and work experience, i.e. you may not have to be unfit for all work.



Commencing on 1 July 2019, if your super fund has not received any contributions for 16 months, and you become ill or injured, regardless of the balance of your super fund, your TPD and Income Protection insurance will be cancelled.

The best way to ensure that this does not occur is to make sure that you contact your super fund and elect to opt in to the default insurance regardless of your account not receiving contributions. You can also make voluntary contributions to your super account at any time to ensure the insurance remains active.

Next steps

A lawyer experienced in making TPD claims for their clients will the have knowledge and experience in how best to make a successful claim on your TPD policy. The majority of lawyers experienced in making TPD claims will also act on a “no win no fee” basis to give you peace of mind.

At Ardent Lawyers, we are confident in our experience and will review your TPD insurance cover to determine whether or not you are likely to be successful in making a claim at no cost to you. If we believe that you fit the criteria to make a TPD claim, we will act for you on a no win no fee basis, meaning that unless we are successful in obtain a lump sum payment for you, you do not have to pay our legal fees.

If you have any questions regarding total & permanent disability insurance or you wish to make a claim., contact us on (02) 4444 6808 or

Mary-Jean Lewis