Published: 10 February 2021
Author: Kathryn Papanikolaou
A cancer diagnosis – how your super can help
We all hold a picture of what we believe the future may hold for us as we move through life and towards retirement and old age. Receiving a diagnosis of a serious illness, particularly of cancer, creates uncertainty around all aspects of that picture, including how the illness may affect our ability to work and financially support ourselves and our family.
Little known and often overlooked, our Superannuation fund often holds the key.
Superannuation funds usually include by default a form of insurance known as Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD).
Where illness or injury results in an inability to work, this insurance may deliver a lump sum payment over and above your superannuation account balance, even if that illness or injury is totally unrelated to work.
Your current Super statements may show that you do not hold any insurance cover (TPD), BUT you may still be covered.
Our experience has shown that clients suffering from an illness often attempt to return to work on more than one occasion following their diagnosis. Therefore, when they do cease work permanently, their super statements may show no insurance. However, generally speaking, your 'date of disablement' is the date you ceased working your normal duties/hours. Subsequent attempts at returning to work are often considered 'failed attempts'.
Provided you held insurance cover when you ceased working your normal hours/duties, you may be entitled to make a TPD claim for a lump sum benefit.
RCT Law recently settled a case where our client ceased working 16 years prior due to a cancer diagnosis. The fund eventually agreed that our client was entitled to a TPD insurance payment at the time he ceased work some 16 years prior and made a lump sum payment to him in excess of $350,000.
It pays to investigate in relation to superannuation
If any doubt surrounds you or a member of your family's future capacity to work as a result of illness or injury, it is important to investigate what insurance is held through your superannuation accounts. The conditions of these policies vary considerably from fund to fund and claims can often be unsuccessful in the first instance.
It is invaluable to obtain legal advice specific to your circumstances early on to maximise entitlements and help put plans in place for the future.
Stringer Clark, in conjunction with RCT Law has a dedicated superannuation department. The expert team understand the effects that illness or injury have on individuals and their families and bring a wealth of compassion and professionalism to all claims.
All of our work is performed on a No Win, No Fee OR Expenses basis, meaning that there are no fees upfront nor any legal costs or disbursements should the claim be unsuccessful.