Australian Physiotherapy Association
Statement from Anja Nikolic
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is proud to partner with Maurice Blackburn to provide information and advice related to law and physiotherapy. APA and Maurice Blackburn believe in an educational and awareness-building approach, ensuring APA members understand their rights within the following areas of the law: Plaintiff, Superannuation/Insurance Claims, Wills/Estate Planning and importantly Patient Safety Initiatives.
Benefits for APA members
Support for you and your Practice
Maurice Blackburn are available to consult with you – free of charge – to support issues relating to compensation schemes impacting patients or your clinic. If you have a question relating to an issue with a client or have a general query relating to the work or road accident compensation scheme in your state simply call Maurice Blackburn and we’ll be happy to assist 1800 810 812.
We also run complimentary on-site education workshops to help members understand their legal obligations, rights and entitlements. We cover topics such as:
- Assisting your patients with compensable injuries
- Record keeping
- Legal report writing
- Compensation entitlements
- Accessing Superannuation and Insurance entitlements
We can also tailor content to your specific requirement if not covered above. To arrange a complimentary on-site education session for you and/or your employees please contact Simon Arsenis:
P: (03) 8102 2132 | M: 0490 305 379
You can also access previous webinars we have done for APA members below.
Support for your personal legal affairs
At Maurice Blackburn, we’ve been fighting for the rights of everyday Australians for 100 years. Our highly skilled legal team form a bond of trust with our clients and will advise on the best legal options in a way that is easy to understand.
As part of the Maurice Blackburn’s ongoing commitment to APA members, we offer you and your family:
- Free telephone advice
- Free first consultant
- 'No win, no fee'*
Among the many legal services we specialise in, we can assist with:
- Personal Injuries
- Wills and Estate Law
- Superannuation & Insurance claims
For detailed information on these services see below.
COVID-19, Insurance & Vulnerable Patients
The economic impacts of COVID-19 have seen various policy responses including new provisions allowing people financially impacted by the pandemic to access their superannuation early. While this is a welcome relief for many, the impacts for workers with chronic and pre-existing health conditions can be detrimental due to the risk of losing automatic life and disability insurance provided via their funds.
The financial stress created by a loss of earning capacity often compounds the difficulty faced by patient’s managing chronic health issues or trying to recover from a debilitating health event. Understanding the insurance entitlements commonly held through super can empower Physios to encourage patients to seek help and access life changing benefits. This can help clear a path to better recovery and/or ongoing management of health conditions.
Insurance through Super
Insurance is an important feature of Superannuation as it is often the only form of Life & Disability Insurance people have. It is usually provided automatically which means almost all employees will be covered. If a patient has stopped work due to any injury or illness they may be able to access these entitlements, however many individuals are unaware they have cover through their fund. Health professionals can play a vital role in bringing attention to these entitlements when they can have a meaningful impact.
Types of Disability Insurance
There are two common types of disability insurance offered through super: Income Protection (IP); and Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) benefits.
TPD benefits are usually lump sum payments you can claim if you are unlikely to return to a job you are reasonably suited to by education, training or experience due to any medical condition.
IP benefits are usually monthly payments you can claim if you are unable to perform your job, or an important duty of your job. Usually you can still make a claim if you have returned to work, but are earning less because you cannot perform the same hours or duties due to your medical condition.
Importantly, these insurances often cover pre-existing conditions and the condition claimed does not need to be compensable. For this reason, people with chronic health conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, and those who experience debilitating non-compensable health events such as strokes will often benefit from a claim.
How are these benefits at risk?
As of Monday 20 April 2020, people facing financial stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been able to access their superannuation account balance early. Eligible individuals can apply through the MyGov website to access up to $10,000 from their superannuation balance before 1 July 2020, and up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020. (More information can be found here).
Many people have or will choose to take this option, however by doing so without consideration of the broader impacts there is a risk that they could lose their valuable life and disability insurance. Simply put: if a patient withdraws their superannuation account balance, and there's not enough money left over to pay premiums, then their insurance may stop.
What can I do?
If your patient is considering withdrawing funds from their super account, encourage them to seek advice about the impacts to ensure they are making an informed decision.
If they have a medical condition that may cause them to cease work in the future it is very important that they don’t lose their insurance entitlements. If they’re facing a period of unemployment which may last for 16 months or more, or if they aren’t sure how much money they will need to leave in their account to meet the cost of ongoing premiums, they should contact their superannuation fund as soon as possible to find out how to retain their cover.
Importantly, if your patient can’t work because of their health condition they may already be able to claim on their default insurance through super. Maurice Blackburn are proud to partner with the APA and can offer patients referred to us a free super check. They will learn about their entitlements and be empowered to make an informed decision.
You or your patient can contact us on 1800 196 050 or via Spreclaims@mauriceblackburn.com.au
It costs nothing to know where you stand.
Disability Insurance - What you and your patients should know31 January 2019
An overview of what Superannuation and Insurance benefits you or your patients may be entitled to if injury or illness impacts work capacity. Presented by Rhys Chamberlain, Client Services Executive | Superannuation & Insurance.Watch now
Assisting you an your patients with compensable injuries01 June 2017
An overview of the Queensland Workcover and Compulsory Third Party (CTP) schemes including best practice for patient record keeping and medical report writing. Presented by Tanya Straguszi, Principal and our Cairns office leader.Watch now
Superannuation and insurance01 June 2016
Physiotherapists rights in relation to superannuation and insurance benefits and claims. Presented by Kim Shaw, National Head of Superannuation and Insurance ClaimsWatch now
Understanding compensation systems for physiotherapists01 July 2016
An overview of the Victorian TAC and WorkCover compensation schemes including best practice for patient record keeping and medical report writing. Presented by Malcom Cumming, Principal and our Ringwood office leader.Watch now
From our blog
Can't work because of illness or injury? Let’s look at your super
Super is far more than a nest egg. If you can't work, it could be a lifeline.