Return to work or totally and permanently disabled – know your rights: 2017 Financial Counselling Australia conference

16 May 2017
Maurice Blackburn Principal Giri Sivaraman will today address Australian’s largest annual gathering of financial counsellors on issues including the operation of the Fair Work Act and legal considerations associated with accessing clients’ superannuation and insurance benefits.

Mr Sivaraman, who is speaking as part of the 2017 FCA Conference on the Gold Coast, said that whilst accessing insurance for a client can be vital in response to an employment termination for medical reasons, this should not be done lightly.
 
“It’s vitally important that financial counsellors are fully aware of the legal implications of accessing benefits such as superannuation insurance so that they can properly advise their clients,” he said.  
 
“Sometimes people need to make a significant decision and make it early. Do they soldier on through serious illness and injury or seek insurance through their superannuation contributions?”
 
Mr Sivaraman said that if you are assessed as totally and permanently disabled and unlikely to ever work again in a job for which you are reasonably educated, an application can be made for insurance benefits.
 
“Most superannuation schemes include insurance for total and permanent disability which will entitle the holder to a lump sum payment in the event that they are unable to work,” he said.
 
“Many people are unaware of having this cover because when you sign up with a super fund, the insurance cover is often included as a default.”
 
However, Mr Sivaraman said once you claim you are totally unable to work, it can be very difficult to argue your employer should try and accommodate your injury or illness, particularly if the injury or illness is not work related.
 
“Some of my clients haven’t realised the implications of their choices until it’s too late. These decisions can affect the rest of your working life, so it’s important to be fully and properly informed before making them,” he said.

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