As everyone is aware, the law requires an employer to pay a minimum of 9% of your salary into a superannuation fund for when you retire.
The laws in relation to where that money can be paid is now much more flexible than previously, allowing you to nominate the super fund you would like the payment to go to or indeed start your own.
The Australian Taxation Office now also allows you to use that money for certain forms of investment in your super fund, on the basis that any monies will not be accessed until you reach retirement age.
The purpose of superannuation is of course to allow retirees to have sufficient income to live comfortably when they retire, and reduce the financial burden on the state of the ageing population.
Generally workers approaching retirement age try to put additional funds into superannuation to maximise the amount that they receive when they retire. That amount is affected not only by those contributions, but also the type of super fund and the financial market.
Most industry super funds also have a provision which enables you to obtain your money prior to your retirement if you have suffered a total and permanent disablement.
The definition normally requires you to prove that due to injuries or a medical condition, you are not able to work in any industry (whether full-time or part- time) that you have worked in previously or that your training and qualifications would allow you to work in.
You will need to contact your superannuation fund for the appropriate application forms, which will normally require support from two medical specialists confirming you are not able to work. Often the insurance company will send you to their own doctor to provide their independent opinion.
Many people are not aware of this potential claim, which can help people in great financial need now rather than waiting until they retire. I have one client who had significant mortgage debts due to his inability to work. He managed to obtain a large payout from his super fund which cleared his mortgage and made his life much more manageable.
It is also important to check over the years as to whom you have worked for, as you may have had payments made to more than one superannuation fund.
If you need any assistance concerning completing this application, then you should contact your lawyer. If the insurance company denies your claim then you are able to bring a complaint to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal or to the Court. Such a claim has time limits and it is important that you obtain appropriate advice as quickly as possible.