Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

This information is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice you should assess whether it is appropriate for you and consider talking to a financial adviser. Before making any decision or acquiring any product you should obtain and review its product disclosure statement by calling 1300 033 166 or by visiting our Product Disclosure Statements and Guides.

Types of insurance claims

Death benefit claim FAQs

  • Who can receive a Death benefit?

    Superannuation law provides that the Trustee can generally only pay a Death benefit to:

    • one or more of the member’s dependants; and/or
    • the member’s legal personal representative.

    A dependant of a member includes:

    • the spouse of the member (married or de facto);
    • any child of the member (regardless of age);
    • any person with whom the member had an interdependency relationship at the date of death; and
    • any person who was wholly or partially financially dependent on the member at the date of death.

    A legal personal representative is the executor of the member’s will or administrator of their estate.

    If the member has no dependants or legal personal representative under superannuation law, the Trustee may determine to pay the member’s Death benefit to another person.

  • Can more than one beneficiary receive a Death benefit?

    Yes, more than one beneficiary can receive a member’s Death benefit. 

  • Who can lodge a Death benefit claim?

    The spouse, child, family member, legal personal representative or any other potential dependant can lodge a Death benefit claim.  The Trustee must be contacted as soon as possible about a member’s death so that the claim process can commence.

    Making a Death claim factsheet

  • How is a Death benefit calculated?

    A member’s Death benefit is made up of the member’s account balance and any Death insurance cover they had as at the date of death.

  • Does a Death benefit form part of the deceased member’s estate?

    A Death benefit does not automatically form part of a member’s estate except where the Death benefit is paid to the member’s estate. 

    A member’s Death benefit will be paid to a member’s estate if:

    • the member had a valid binding nomination in effect at the date of death and they nominated their estate to receive some or all of their Death benefit; or
    • the Trustee exercises its discretion to pay some or all of the Death benefit to the member’s estate, if there was no valid binding nomination in effect at the date of death.
  • What type of nomination can a member make for their Death benefit?
    • Binding nomination
    • Non-binding nomination
    • Reversionary beneficiary nomination

    Binding nomination

    A binding nomination is a legal instrument that binds the Trustee to pay the member’s Death benefit to a member's nominated beneficiaries.

    If a binding nomination is valid and in effect, the Trustee must pay the member’s Death benefit to the beneficiaries nominated in the proportion set out in the nomination. If a binding nomination is not valid, the Trustee will decide who is to receive the Death benefit. 

    A binding nomination is valid if all of the following conditions are met:

    • each person nominated must be a dependant or the legal personal representative of the deceased member;
    • the allocation amongst the beneficiaries nominated must be clearly set out;
    • the total percentage of the benefit allocated to the beneficiaries nominated must equal 100%;
    • the nomination form must have been signed by the member in the presence of two witnesses, both of whom are aged 18 or over and neither of whom are named as a beneficiary; and
    • the nomination must contain a declaration signed and dated by the witnesses stating that the notice was signed and dated by the member in their presence.

    A binding nomination remains in effect for three years from the date it is first signed, last amended or confirmed.

    Non-binding nomination

    A non-binding nomination sets out the dependants and/or legal personal representative that the member would like their Death benefit to be paid to.  It is not binding on the Trustee, however the Trustee will take it into consideration when determining to whom to pay the member’s Death benefit.

    Reversionary beneficiary nomination (Retire Access account only)

    A reversionary beneficiary nomination can only be made when a member starts a TelstraSuper RetireAccess income stream.

    A member may only nominate one reversionary beneficiary who must be an eligible dependant at the date of their death. There are further restrictions on who the payment of Death benefits in the form of an income stream can be paid to.

    Eligible dependants who can receive Death benefits in the form of an income stream include:

    • the member’s spouse
    • a child under the age of 18
    • a child aged under the age of  25 and financially dependent on the member
    • a child with a disability as outlined in the Disability Services Act 1986, or
    • another person who is financially dependent on the member or with whom they had an interdependency relationship.

    If the reversionary beneficiary is a financially dependent child, they can only receive the income stream until they turn age of 25, at which point the income stream must be transferred to a lump sum, unless they have a disability.

    To update or remove an existing reversionary beneficiary nomination, the member must commute their RetireAccess income stream and commence a new RetireAccess income stream.

    No nomination

    If there is no nomination in place, the Trustee must pay the Death benefit to the member’s dependants and/or legal personal representative in the proportions it determines.

    When there is no nomination in place, it may take longer to pay the Death benefit as identifying the member’s dependants can be a time-consuming process.

    To find out more about the different types of nominations click here.

  • Can a dependant who lives overseas be nominated?

    Yes, a member can nominate a dependant who lives overseas.

  • Will a binding nomination remain valid if a nominated beneficiary dies before the member or ceases to be a dependant?

    If a nominated beneficiary dies before the member or ceases to be a dependant of the member, the binding nomination ceases to be valid. The Trustee must pay the Death benefit to the member’s dependants and/or legal personal representative in the proportions it determines.

  • Where there is no valid binding nomination in effect how does the Trustee determine to whom to pay a member’s Death benefit?

    In making its determination, the Trustee will contact all persons who are dependants of the member and the member’s legal personal representative to identify all potential dependants.

    When considering to whom to pay a member’s Death benefit where there is no valid binding nomination in effect, the Trustee will also consider the purpose of superannuation which is as follows:

    Superannuation involves the member contributing income while working in order to provide for the member, their spouse and any dependants in retirement.  On the death of the member, the trustee is required to consider the position of persons who had a reasonable expectation of continuing regular financial support from the member had they not died.  This will usually include the member’s surviving spouse, to provide continuing support. The trustee is also required to consider the financial needs of any minor children, children undertaking tertiary education, or anyone who had a reasonable expectation of continuing regular financial support from the member or a right to look to the deceased member for ongoing financial support had they not died.  The financial needs of these children are distinguished from the needs of financially independent adult children.*

    *Source: Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

  • How are Death benefits paid?

    A Death benefit can be paid as a lump sum or as an income stream.

  • Is tax payable on Death benefits paid as a lump sum?

    The tax treatment of a Death benefit paid as a lump sum depends on who receives the benefit.

    If a lump sum Death benefit is paid to a person who is a dependant under taxation law, the Death benefit is received tax-free.

    Under taxation law, a Death benefit dependant includes:

    • the deceased member’s spouse or former spouse (married, de facto or same sex)
    • a child of the deceased member under 18 years old
    • a person who was financially dependent on the deceased member; and
    • a person who was in an interdependency relationship with the deceased member.

    If a lump sum Death benefit is paid a person who is not a dependant under taxation law, tax is deducted from the taxable component of the Death benefit at the capped rate of 15% (plus Medicare levy).

    If a lump sum Death benefit is paid to the member’s estate, tax may be payable depending on who receives the Death benefit.  If a person who is a dependant for taxation purposes is paid the Death benefit, it will be received tax-free. If a person who is not a dependant for taxation purposes is paid the benefit, tax is payable by the member’s estate. The Medicare Levy is not levied on Death benefits paid via the estate.

  • Can an objection be lodged against the Trustee’s decision about the distribution of a Death benefit?

    Any potential beneficiary who is not satisfied with the Trustee’s decision about the payment of a member’s Death benefit has 28 days to lodge an objection to the Trustee. The Member Experience Committee will consider the objection.

    If a potential beneficiary is not satisfied with the decision of the Member Experience Committee they may lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA is an independent external complaints resolution scheme for the financial services industry. AFCA can be contacted on 1800 931 678 or visit their website at www.afca.org.au.

Income Protection claim FAQs

  • What is the process for making an Income Protection benefit claim?

    Income Protection cover can provide you with a partial replacement income while you’re temporarily unable to continue performing the regular duties of your regular occupation due to an accident or sickness.

    If you believe you may be eligible to apply for an Income Protection benefit, please contact us and refer to the Making an Income Protection claim factsheet to find out more.

    When we are notified of your claim, whether you call us or submit your claim via your online account, we will ask you to complete a Declaration and Authority Form, a Tax File Number Declaration Form and Bank Account Details Form and ask two of your treating doctors (a GP and a specialist) to complete the Treating Doctor's Report. We will also request a certified copy of your proof of identity (e.g. driver’s licence or passport).

    Once this information is returned to us,  we’ll submit your claim to our insurer, MLC Limited (MLC Life Insurance), who will arrange a time to call you and discuss your claim in more detail.

  • How much Income Protection will I receive?

    Income Protection can provide a temporary monthly payment of up to 75% of your salary excluding super, with an additional 10% paid to your super.

    Income Protection payments are paid directly to you by MLC Life Insurance and payments may be backdated. If you’ve been paid sick leave or another income replacement benefit during the benefit period, such as workers’ compensation benefits, this may reduce your monthly benefit.

  • What evidence do I need to provide?

    An MLC Life Insurance Customer Care Representative will contact you within one day of receiving your claim to complete the lodgement of your claim over the phone and discuss your claim in more detail. This will include a conversation about your employment, your condition and your medical treatment. 

    To qualify for an Income Protection benefit, you will need to provide evidence of your accident or sickness.

    MLC Life Insurance will collect medical information regarding your claimed condition from your treating doctors. They may also require you to attend independent medical examinations and may obtain third party files from Centrelink, Workcover and other insurers if you have submitted any other claims. MLC Life Insurance may also ask your employer to provide relevant details about your employment, including the details of your job and your income.

  • How long will it take to assess my Income Protection claim?

    Once you have discussed your claim with the MLC Life Insurance Customer Care Representative, your claim will be allocated to an MLC Life Insurance Case Consultant who will contact you within five business days to discuss details of your claim.

    It may take some time for MLC Life Insurance to obtain the necessary information from various parties such as doctors, employers and third parties in order to assess your medical condition.

    You will receive updates on your claim at least every 20 business days and you can request information about your claim at any time.

    MLC Life Insurance will do their best to assess your claim as quickly as possible and will generally let us know the outcome of your claim no later than two months after the latter of the end of the waiting period or the lodgement of the claim.  If there is a reason MLC Life Insurance cannot provide a decision within two months they will write to let you know the reason for the delay.

    We act as your advocate during the claim process and MLC Life Insurance is required to provide us with regular updates during the assessment of your claim. To speed up the process, please provide any medical and/or vocational information you may have to support your claim.

  • How long will it take until I start receiving Income Protection payments and how long will the payments last?

    Depending on your Income Protection cover, your waiting period and benefit period may vary:

    • waiting period – this is the time you must wait from when you become unable to work due to accident or sickness to the time you become eligible to start receiving Income Protection benefit payments. It can vary from 30 to 120 days. The default waiting period is 90 days.
    • benefit period – this is the maximum length of time that your Income Protection is paid for. It can vary from 2 to 5 years. The default benefit period is 2 years.

    Please refer to your current super statement or log into your online account to see your waiting period and benefit period.

    MLC Life Insurance may reduce your Income Protection payment amounts by certain other payments that you may receive such as workers' compensation payments, sick leave payments and benefits payable under other Income Protection policies.  Please refer to your applicable TelstraSuper Product Disclosure Statement and Insurance Guide for more information.

  • Do I have to use up all my leave before I receive an Income Protection payment?

    No you don’t. However, if you are receiving sick leave entitlements from your employer while you are on an Income Protection claim, this may reduce the amount of the Income Protection benefit you will be paid for the applicable month.

  • What happens if I go back to work part-time?

    If you are able to return to work part-time, and are earning less than your full income, then you may be entitled to a partial disability benefit. Our insurer, MLC Life Insurance, will be in touch with you regarding the ongoing requirements of the claim for partial disability and will work with you and your doctor to support your return to work where possible.

    You may benefit from MLC Life Insurance’s Wellness program which includes: 
    Best Doctors Service, Mental Health Navigator, Mindset4Life Program, CancerAid Coach Program and GoShare.

  • Am I required to do anything further once I start receiving Income Protection payments?

    The Income Protection benefit assessment is ongoing for the duration of your Income Protection benefit period. As a result, you may be required to provide ongoing monthly progress claim forms to MLC Life Insurance to be completed by you and your doctor outlining the status of your claimed condition for the month and any other information required to assess your ongoing eligibility for Income Protection benefits.

    MLC Life Insurance will contact you directly regarding the ongoing requirements of the claim. Your MLC Life Insurance Case Consultant will work with you and your doctor to provide you with tailored recovery services to support your return to health where possible.

    You may benefit from MLC Life Insurance’s Wellness program which includes: 
    Best Doctors Service, Mental Health Navigator, Mindset4Life Program, CancerAid Coach Program and GoShare.

  • What if I’m not happy with the review process or the outcome of my TPD, Income Protection or Terminal Illness claim?

    You’ll be given the opportunity to review all of the information obtained as part of assessing your claim. You’ll also be able to provide additional evidence to support your claim.

    If your claim has an insurance component and our insurer MLC Life Insurance decides your claim is unsuccessful, the Trustee will review MLC Life Insurance's decision on your behalf to ensure that it is a fair and reasonable decision. You’ll have the opportunity to provide further evidence and you can ask the Trustee and MLC Life Insurance to review the decision if new evidence is received.

    Once a final decision is made to you in writing, if you’re still dissatisfied, you may lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA is an independent external complaints resolution scheme for the financial services industry. AFCA can be contacted on 1800 931 678 or visit their website at www.afca.org.au

    If your insurance claim is unsuccessful, you may still be eligible to access the funds in your superannuation account.  We can guide you through this process.

Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) claim FAQs

  • What is the process for making a TPD claim?

    Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover provides a lump sum payment into your superannuation account if you become totally and permanently disabled due to an accident or sickness.

    If you believe you may be eligible to apply for a TPD benefit, we are here to help, please contact us and refer to the Making a Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) benefit claim factsheet to find out more.

    When we are notified of your claim, whether you call us or submit your claim via your online account, we will ask you to complete a Declaration and Authority Form, and ask two of your treating doctors (a GP and a Specialist) to complete the Treating Doctor's Report. We will also request a certified copy of your proof of identity (e.g. driver's licence or passport).

    Once this information is returned to us, we'll submit your claim to our insurer, MLC Life Insurance, who will arrange a time to call you and discuss your claim in more detail.

  • How do I qualify for TPD benefits?

    To obtain a benefit you must have TPD cover in place and satisfy one of the TPD definitions* set out in the relevant insurance policy. You must also satisfy relevant requirements set out in the TelstraSuper Trust Deed and the applicable MLC Life Insurance policy. For more information, please refer to the applicable TelstraSuper PDS and Insurance Guide.

    * The applicable TPD definition you must satisfy will depend upon your working hours.
  • What benefits will be paid?

    Providing you meet the relevant criteria (see answer to previous FAQ), you will be eligible to receive an insured TPD benefit. You may also be able to gain early access to your super account. These benefits may be paid as a lump-sum or regular income payments. In terms of the insurance payout amount, this will depend on the type and amount of TPD cover you have.

  • What evidence do I need?

    A claim must be supported by medical evidence confirming that you meet the definition of TPD. Our insurer, MLC Life Insurance will obtain medical information regarding your claimed condition from your treating doctors. MLC Life Insurance may request additional information in support of your claim. This may include employment and financial information, independent medical examinations and any other information deemed necessary as a part of your claim.  The Trustee will review these requests to ensure that they are reasonable.

  • How long will it take to assess my TPD claim?

    In most circumstances there is a waiting period you need to meet before assessment can commence on your claim. Once you have met your waiting period and your claim has been lodged to MLC Life Insurance, an MLC Life Insurance Customer Care Representative will contact you to complete the lodgement of your claim over the phone and discuss your claim in more detail. Your claim will be allocated to an MLC Life Insurance Case Consultant who will contact you within five business days to discuss details of your claim. It may take some time for MLC Life Insurance to obtain the necessary information from various parties such as doctors, employers and third parties in order to assess your medical condition.

    You will receive updates on your claim at least every 20 business days and you can request information about your claim at any time.

    MLC Life Insurance will do their best to assess your claim as quickly as possible.  However, MLC Life Insurance will generally let us know the outcome of your claim no later than six months after the latter of the end of the waiting period or the lodgement of the claim.   If there is a reason MLC Life Insurance cannot provide a decision within six months, they will write to let you know the reason for the delay.

    We act as your advocate during the claim process and MLC Life Insurance is required to provide us with regular updates during the assessment of your claim. To speed up the process, please provide any medical and/or vocational information you may have to support your claim.

Terminal illness claim FAQs

  • Can I receive a benefit if I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or injury?

    In the unfortunate circumstance that you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or injury, you may be eligible for a terminal illness benefit payment. You do not have to cease work to qualify for this benefit, however certain criteria must be met before you can receive this benefit.

    You will qualify for a terminal illness benefit if you suffer from an illness or injury, which:

    • two medical practitioners (one of whom specialises in an area related to your illness or injury) believe will lead to your death within 24 months of the date of written certification, despite reasonable medical treatment; and
    • if you have Death cover, the insurer is satisfied, on medical or other evidence, will lead to your death within 24 months of the date of the certification, despite reasonable medical treatment.

    If you believe you may be eligible to apply for a terminal illness benefit we’re here to help, please contact us and refer to the Making a Terminal Illness claim factsheet to find out more.

  • What does a terminal illness benefit include?

    A terminal illness benefit can include:

    • your account balance
    • an insured Death benefit, if you have active Death insurance cover.
  • When can I access terminal illness benefits?

    If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness  you may be eligible to apply for a Terminal Illness benefit. Please contact us as soon as possible so that we can help you and refer to the Making a Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) benefit claim factsheet to find out more.

    When we are notified of your claim, whether you call us or submit your claim via your online account, we will ask you to complete a Declaration and Authority Form and ask two of your treating doctors (a GP and a Specialist) to complete the Treating Doctor's Report.   We will also request a certified copy of your proof of identity (e.g. driver’s licence or passport).

    Once this information is returned to us, we’ll submit your claim to our insurer, MLC Life Insurance, who will arrange a time to call you and discuss your claim in more detail.  Together with MLC Life Insurance we will do our best to expedite your Terminal Illness claim and keep you informed as your claim progresses.