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Total Permanent Disability Insurance: An Explainer from Ryan Carlisle Thomas

Suffering an injury or illness that stops you from working in your regular job or any role you are educated for or have experience in could mean you are eligible to make a total permanent disability (TPD) claim for compensation. The injury or illness doesn’t have to be work-related; it can include heart attacks, cancer, injuries sustained at home, sports injuries, car accident injuries, and chronic illnesses. You can even claim for psychological illnesses such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, just to name a few.


To be eligible for a TPD insurance claim, you must have coverage (either through your super fund) and demonstrate that you cannot do your normal job or any other work related to your education, training, or experience. Be wary of exclusions in the total and permanent disability insurance policy’s small print that could deny your claim. Our team of specialist superannuation lawyers will help you understand the policy fine print and work to ensure you get every dollar and benefit you’re entitled to.


It’s best to submit a total and permanent disability claim as soon as possible, but you may be able to claim a long time after your injury or illness. However, there are strict time limits when it comes to challenging the super fund’s or insurer’s decision regarding your TPD claim, meaning that it is essential to get legal advice from an experienced TPD lawyer as soon as possible, even before you submit your claim, so you know where you stand.

Potential Outcomes

TPD benefit amounts vary depending on the policy terms negotiated by your super fund or employer. Benefits are usually paid as a lump sum and can be worth quite a significant amount. The total permanent disability insurance payout amounts can decrease or lapse as you age, so it’s important to check the level of coverage at the time you stopped working (even if that cover has since ended).

You can often have multiple TPD claims if you have multiple insurances in place when you stop working due to disability. However, some policies won’t pay if you receive another TPD benefit. Our lawyers are experts at overcoming these provisions, but it’s important to get advice before making any total and permanent disability insurance claims.

In addition to the TPD lump sum benefit through your superannuation, you may also be able to make additional claims through income protection or other forms of insurance. You may even access additional benefits through your employer, an enterprise agreement, an employment contract, loans such as a mortgage, car loan, or credit card, or insurance purchased through a financial institution or advisor.

Your super fund has to decide on your TPD claim within 6-12 months of receiving all the required documentation, depending on the complexity of your claim. Our TPD lawyers are experts at getting insurance claims paid early.