What is it?

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has over 2 million members and is Australia’s second largest superannuation fund.  This means that chances are you, or someone you know is a member of ART. 

ART was formed during the merge of two large Queensland-based funds, Sunsuper and QSuper. You can read my thoughts on the merger between QSuper and Sunsuper here.  

All new members of ART are entitled to an insurance product known as TPD Assist by default. TPD Assist is a unique insurance product only offered by ART. 

Unlike most Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurances offered by superannuation funds which are paid in a single, lump-sum benefit, TPD Assist splits the payment of a lump-sum insured figure into six payments, over six years. 

How does it work?

For individuals who stopped working between 1 July 2016 and 30 September 2020, TPD Assist payments are made equally over six years. 

For individuals who ceased work after 1 October 2020, the first TPD Assist payment is 25% of your whole insured benefit, and 15% for every five years thereafter. 

Like most standard TPD insurance policies, to be successful in a TPD Assist claim you must demonstrate that you are unable to return to work within your education, training or experience.   

However, TPD Assist differs in that the insurer may consider any potential upskilling, or retraining that you could reasonably undertake to return to the workforce. 

You will also need the support of your doctors; usually a general practitioner and specialist is required. 

For example: Stacey has $100,000 of TPD Assist insurance in place on 1 January 2021 when she suffered a significant car accident.  Stacey is still in hospital and cannot return to work as a teacher. 

If Stacey’s doctors are supportive of the TPD Assist claim and the claim is accepted by ART, Stacey will receive $25,000 (less some tax) for her first payment, and then $15,000 each year thereafter for five more years, provided she is still unable to work and still has her doctors’ support. 

However, if Stacey recuperates and she can do some part-time work as a teacher’s aide, ART will likely cease her future payments. 

It is worth noting that if you are suffering from a very significant injury or illness, such as major head trauma or multiple sclerosis, you may be entitled to a single lump-sum benefit payment.  

Pros and cons

Unlike standard TPD insurances, TPD Assist has no waiting period, meaning you can claim as soon as you cease work due to ill-health. 

Furthermore, ART has a rehabilitation team that may assist you in attempting to return to work, however your participation is mandatory, or your future entitlements may cease. 

However, it’s worth remembering that if you have received one or more successful TPD Assist payments and return to work in any capacity, you may forfeit any future payments. 

Also, if you close your ART account and cease your membership of the fund before receiving all six TPD Assist payments, you may also forfeit any future payments. 

Finally, any successful TPD Assist payments will be deducted from your life insurance held with ART at the time of death. 

Need help with TPD Assist?

Know your rights. 

The Australian Retirement Trust TPD Assist policy is unique and it pays to get legal advice. 

If you are yet to make a TPD Assist claim, you are entitled to legal representation and Littles can help you. 

If you have already lodged a claim and it has been rejected by a superannuation fund or insurer, you may be entitled to have the decision reviewed through an internal resolution procedure. 

If your complaint has been upheld, you may be able to litigate in a court or lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). 

There are strict time limits to challenge an insurer’s decision, so it’s important you seek legal advice as soon as possible. 

What is the Littles difference?

Put simply, Littles are experts in superannuation and insurance law matters. 

Our insurance team has helped thousands of consumers claim their entitlements, and our Head of TPD and General Insurance has extensive industry knowledge and insight on how to maximise your prospects of success. 

We also speak your language, at sixteen languages and counting.  Forget paying for a translator or for a lawyer who doesn’t understand you and your cultural background. 

All our superannuation and insurance law matters are conducted on a no win, no fee basis, and we don’t charge you upfront for any disbursements necessary to prosecute your claim.  

If you would like superannuation and insurance law advice, reach out to Littles today by using our free Claim Checker

About the author

Littles’ Head of TPD and General Insurance, Rowan McDonald, is an expert in insurance and superannuation law.  Rowan is an experienced litigator and has prosecuted thousands of successful insurance claims for consumers. 

Having worked in the insurance industry for over fifteen years, Rowan has an extensive industry contact list and regularly presents to disability support groups, financial industry professionals and multicultural organisations. 

Rowan has also advised some of Australia’s top insurers, giving him unrivalled insight into the claim process from all perspectives.  Rowan takes a pragmatic and common-sense approach to the advice he provides his clients. 

For your free, personal consultation get in touch with Rowan today.  

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