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If you can no longer work due to illness or injury, you may be eligible to claim a total and permanent disability (TPD) benefit to help you and your family against the added financial burden that can arise in these circumstances.

A TPD benefit is the payment of your insurance cover and the early release of your super account balance  if you become totally and permanently disabled due to an illness or injury:

  •  That’s caused you to be unable to work for three consecutive months; and
  •  Results in you being unlikely to resume work in any occupation for which you were suited by education, training or experience, or may become reasonably suited by Reasonable Retraining or rehabilitation; or
  •  That’s caused you to be unable to perform certain everyday working activities.
It’s all in the guide

For full details on the insurance cover we offer, including important definitions of key terms relating to permanent incapacity claims, refer to our handy Insurance in your super guide for members.


How the claims process works

Call our Service Centre and we’ll help you with the first steps of the claim and inform you of what’s involved in the overall process. We’ll also ask you a few questions relating to your claim to help us determine what benefit you may be entitled to claim.

When you call, please have the following information on hand to initiate your claim:

  • Details of your Catholic Super membership
  • Details of your injury or illness
  • The date you first consulted your doctor about your condition and the date you were certified as being unfit to work
  • Details of the employer/s you were employed with prior to ceasing work, and 
  • The last day you were actively at work and your work status prior to ceasing work.

Once your eligibility to claim is established, we’ll send you the relevant forms to complete. These forms allow us to assess your entitlement against the insurance policy terms and conditions. Your medical condition will be assessed together with your medical history, employment circumstances and education. 

To get started, we’ll send you the following forms:

  • Initial information form – this needs to be completed by you (or your Power of Attorney)
  • Medical statement – to be completed by your treating doctor. Copies of relevant medical reports and test results that support your illness or injury should be attached to the completed report. Any costs associated with completing this form will need to be covered by you.
  • Employer statement – to be completed by your employer at the time you ceased work.
  • Certified proof of identity – for security purposes, certified proof of your identity such as your driver’s licence or passport is required. A certified copy is simply a photocopy of an original document that has been sighted, signed and stamped by an authorised person as being a ‘certified true copy’. Photocopies of certified documents cannot be accepted.

Once the completed forms are returned, you’ll be assigned a dedicated case manager who will help you through the claim process and lodge your claim with our Insurer. 

The Insurer may also request:

  • Further information from you
  • Additional medical reports directly from your doctor/s
  • Further information from your employer
  • That you attend an independent medical examination
  • Any claim files held with other insurers or any other third party such as Worker’s Compensation files.

Any fees associated with requesting additional medical reports and examinations will be paid by the Insurer. 

Your claim will be assessed against the terms and conditions of the insurance policy you were covered under at the date of your injury or illness (including any exclusions and/or pre-existing conditions you may have). The nature of your claim, the date of disablement and any additional information required to reach an outcome, will influence the overall assessment processing time of your claim. 

We’ll strive to reach an outcome as quickly as possible, and we’ll keep you regularly updated throughout the assessment process.

All claims are referred to the Trustee office for approval once all of the required information, including the Insurer’s decision relating to the insured benefit, has been received. The Trustee is responsible for ensuring the decision is fair and reasonable and meets the early release conditions as governed by superannuation legislation.

If your claim is approved, we’ll let you know in writing, and we’ll confirm the TPD benefit amount that will be allocated to your super account to form part of your overall balance. We’ll also provide you with payment options and seek your instructions.

If your claim is declined, we’ll let you know in writing why your medical condition doesn’t satisfy the relevant TPD definitions. Before formally declining your claim, we’ll write to you to allow you to provide further evidence to support your claim. Should this occur, and if you disagree with the decision, you can request a review. All review requests are treated as formal complaints and are independently assessed by the Insurer and Trustee.

If our Insurer approves your TPD benefit, the insurance payment will be allocated into your account balance to form a final total benefit amount. This total benefit amount may be paid to you once the Trustee approves the claim. 

The benefit can be paid to you as:

  • Partial lump sum withdrawals from your super account when you need to, or
  • An income stream through an Catholic Super Retirement Income account to provide you with regular income payments to support you into the future, or
  • A full benefit payment directly to you via EFT or cheque. 

If you choose to leave your benefit in your super account, your account balance will continue to accrue returns based on your chosen investment option(s), and the insurance proceeds will be invested in the Cash option.

More about the claims process

How long does it take?

There are several steps involved in assessing a claim. We and the Insurer aim to finalise most claims within six months or sooner. The length of time depends on the availability of information required from you, your employer, your doctors and specialists to assess your claim.

Is there a waiting period? 

The definitions relevant to you will determine the waiting period applicable for your claim. This means that you must have been absent from work as a result of your injury or illness for a minimum of either 3 or 6 consecutive months. 

What we consider when assessing a TPD claim

Being approved for a TPD payment depends on a number of factors. The driving factor is the definition of total and permanent disablement in place at the time you ceased work and were medically diagnosed as a result of your illness or injury (whether physical or mental), you are unlikely to resume any occupation which you are reasonably capable of performing within your education training or experience or may become reasonably suited by Reasonable Retraining or rehabilitation. These definitions have changed over the years and can vary between products in Catholic Super and other superannuation funds. 

Other factors such as your medical capacity, employment status, the length of time you’ve worked in this role, your past employment and experience, your level of education, any training you’ve undertaken and the impact of your injury or illness are all taken into consideration when assessing your claim. 

Information will be gathered from your employer, doctors and specialists, or any other organisations that you may have lodged a claim with, to enable the Insurer to assess your claim correctly, fairly and within reason. The Insurer may also ask for additional tests or medical opinions from doctors of their choice. 

For more on TPD definitions

Our current definitions can be found in the Insurance in your super guide. For past definitions, and to discuss your circumstances, please contact our Service Centre.

What about tax?

A TPD payment may incur income tax depending on your personal circumstances and how the benefit is withdrawn. We recommend you seek financial advice to understand how any benefit payment made to you may be taxed

If you’re receiving Income Protection payments

Eligibility to receive a TPD benefit does not affect any income protection payments you may be eligible to claim. Any payments you are receiving will continue for as long as you satisfy the terms and conditions of the income protection or salary continuance policy.

We're here to help

Remember, we’re here if you need us for assistance with the claims process, or if you have any queries about the progress of a claim, or for any insurance related queries.

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