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What are Superannuation & Disability Insurance Claims?

If you are a worker in Queensland, you probably heard of Superannuation fund or WorkCover Queensland (WQC).

All Queensland workers registered with WorkCover together with their spouses are entitled to the benefits from the superannuation fund provided by the government.

WorkCover Queensland is a government entity responsible for the management of the workers compensation fund and oversee work place occupational health and safety standards for Queensland. Employers are mandated to register their workers with WorkCover upon employment.

What is a superannuation fund?

Superannuation is a scheme for a compulsory long term savings for workers. Money is contributed to a superannuation fund by an employer reserved to pay the workers’ pensions when they retire from service. The fund is collected to provide financial resources to guarantee payment of benefits when the worker retires, thus, sometimes referred to as a pension. The superannuation fund can be set by the government, employers, insurance companies and other institutions like trade unions.

In Australia, all employers are legally bound to give superannuation contribution to full time employees. They have to put money into a superannuation account under the superannuation guarantee. The funds collected in the superannuation account may be invested. However, the funds should be ready when the worker retires.

QSuper accumulation account

The government in Queensland through WorkCover set up the superannuation fund referred to as QSuper. This is intended for Queensland government employees. In the same manner, the workers must contribute to the QSuper annuation scheme.

The benefits from superannuation fund

Let’s take as an example the QSuper of Queensland. Aside from pension benefits, QSuper provide for disability benefits (temporary or permanent) when a worker is no longer fit to work. The workers are entitled to awards depending on their membership contribution, generally, referred to as QSuper Accumulation Plan which may be:

Contributory Accumulation Plan
Non -Contributory Accumulation Plan

Members who did not choose a particular award shall be automatically become a member of the QSuper Contributory Accumulation Plan with 5% employee salary voluntary contribution while casual employees will be automatically enrolled in the Non-Contributory Accumulation Plan.

Q Super benefits include the following:
A lump sum benefits upon resignation or retirement from work. Generally, you cannot get your superannuation until you reach your earliest retirement age, which is 60 for anyone born after 30 June 1964;
A payment of bigger lump sum for total or permanent disability (TPD) and a smaller amount for partial and permanent disability (TTD); and
A 2 year pension for temporary disability.

For all other superannuation fund, the benefits could be broken down into the following categories which include:

(1) Allocated Pension
(2) Total and Temporary Disability benefit under your superannuation fund (TTD);
(3) Total and Permanent Disability benefit under your superannuation fund (TPD);
(4) Income protection insurance; and
(5) Trauma Insurance.

Allocated Pension

An allocated pension is an account within a superannuation fund which gives the member a chance to receive his regular pension or a lump sum amount upon retirement. Generally, to avail of your pension benefit, you must be 55 for those born before 1 July 1960 or 60 when you were born after 30 June 1964.

Total and Temporary Disability benefit

If you had stopped working due to a medical condition, you may qualify for a Total and Temporary Disability (TTD) insurance benefits. The member can receive a weekly or a monthly pay based on a percentage of their current wage which can be up to 75%. This can occur up to 2 years or even up to your retirement age 65.

Total and Permanent Disability benefit

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance benefit is paid as a lump sum. You have to show that because of an injury or illness you are no longer fit to perform your usual work or any other employment for which you are qualified. Regardless of how you develop or acquired your illness, you could qualify for TPD.

Income Protection Insurance

This is an option if you can no longer work due to impaired medical condition. You can purchase an income protection policy through a life insurer or your superannuation fund. This will cover about 75% of your salary before your condition had developed.

Trauma Insurance

This is an insurance policy for specific medical conditions like cancer, heart problems and strokes or surgery. You will be entitled to a lump sum benefit if you suffer from any of the above mentioned conditions or others.

Generally, a member cannot get his or her superannuation until he reaches the retirement age which is 60 for anyone born after 30 June 1964. It is a must that Superannuation disability claims be made as soon as possible.

To be entitled for the benefits, you have to prove that:

you previously worked and your employer was paying compulsory superannuation;
you are suffering from an jury or illness that has prevented you from working for 6 consecutive months;
you have a superannuation fund or had entered into a private contract of insurance for income protection or disability insurance;
you are under 60 or 65 years of age; or
you are the spouse or dependent of the member who dies and you wish to claim death benefits from the deceased’s superannuation fund or private insurer.

Claims for superannuation benefits are extremely complex. You need to talk to an expert and discuss your options. A superannuation expert or an insurance lawyer can provide you information and updates on the benefits, requirements and procedure to claim for superannuation and insurance claims.