Death claim FAQs
What is the process for making a death claim?
If you believe that you are a beneficiary of a deceased TelstraSuper member or if you’re the legal representative of their estate, you should contact us as soon as possible and we’ll be able to help you.
If the deceased member had active death insurance cover, a TelstraSuper claims representative will manage the claim with our insurer, TAL Life Limited (‘TAL’), for payment. At the same time, we’ll carry out the necessary investigations to pay the benefit, including the super account balance, to the member’s estate or dependants (as defined under the superannuation law).
What is a death benefit made up of?
It includes the deceased member’s super account balance and any base death and top-up insurance they had when they died.
Does a death benefit form part of a deceased member's estate?
There is a common misunderstanding that superannuation forms part of a deceased person’s estate. However, the laws that govern superannuation and estates are different.
The only time superannuation death benefits forms part of a deceased member’s estate is if:
- the deceased member had an active and valid binding nomination at the time of their death and they nominated their estate to receive some or all of their super
- there wasn’t an active and valid binding nomination at the time of the death and the trustee’s discretion is exercised in favour of the estate.
Who can receive a superannuation death benefit payment?
Superannuation death benefits do not automatically form part of an estate and therefore cannot be primarily dealt with in a Will. Superannuation death benefits are generally paid to the deceased member’s dependants or the estate. When deciding who is to receive some or all of a member’s death benefit, TelstraSuper will check if the deceased member had a death benefit nomination in place.
If the deceased member had an active, valid binding nomination at the time of their death, the benefits will be paid as per the member’s wishes. However without such a nomination, the Trustee has the discretion to decide to ensure that the benefits are distributed in an appropriate manner. The Trustee will take into consideration any non-binding nomination in place when making their determination.
What is the definition of a dependant under the superannuation laws?
Dependants include any of the following:
- a spouse including de facto and same-sex
- children of any age
- other financial dependants
Can I nominate a sibling as a beneficiary?
Yes, you can nominate a sibling. However, in order for your sibling to be considered in the distribution of the death benefit, they would need to be considered a dependant under the SIS legislation (see FAQ ‘what is the definition of a dependent under the superannuation laws’)
Can there be multiple recipients of a death benefit?
Yes, however the percentages allocated to each beneficiary must all add up to 100%. If any binding beneficiary is no longer considered to be valid at the time of the member’s death, the allocation would become invalid. As a result, all of the other nominations become invalid because the determined percentage would no longer add up to 100%.
Who receives a member's death benefit if there is no nomination in place?
If the deceased member did not nominate a beneficiary, the death benefit will be paid to the member’s eligible dependant(s), their legal personal representative or, if neither of these exists, another person such as a relative may be considered. This will be determined by the Fund’s Trustee in accordance with the applicable law.
When there is no nomination, it may take longer to pay the death benefit. Identifying the applicable dependants can be a time consuming process, as factors such as divorce, second and third marriages, extended and blended families need to be taken in to account.
Can I nominate a dependant who lives overseas?
Yes, you can nominate a dependant who lives overseas, as long as they can demonstrate that they meet the definition of ‘dependant’.
How does the Trustee determine who receives a deceased member's death benefits?
When there’s no valid binding nomination in place, the Trustee is responsible for determining who receives a deceased member’s superannuation death benefit.
When considering who is entitled to a death benefit payment, the Trustee needs to consider the purpose of superannuation which is:
- to provide retirement benefits for a member and their spouse in retirement, or in the event of death, to provide for those who were receiving financial support from the deceased at the time of their death
- not to pay debts of the deceased member’s estate
- not to right past wrong or perceived wrongs arising from the estate distribution.
In making their determination, the Trustee will generally contact all dependants of the deceased member, including adult children.
How are death benefits paid?
The eligible recipients will be provided payment options of either a lump sum or, in certain circumstances, an income stream.
What are the tax implications on a lump sum death benefit?
Lump sum death benefits paid may incur tax as outlined in the table below.
- current & former spouse
- de-facto partner (including same sex marriages)
Child(ren) under the age of 18
- any other person financially dependent including child over the age of 18
- an interdependant
For the definition of a spouse, de facto partner, child,
financial dependant and interdependent relationship
Independent adult children (non-financial dependency) Personal income tax rate
Tax will be payable, even if the deceased member’s
benefit was tax-free
Legal personal representative (estate) Tax may be payable
TelstraSuper will not deduct tax from the benefit but
tax may be deducted within the estate.
Can the decision about the distribution of death benefits be contested?
Anyone dissatisfied with the decision about the distribution of death benefits, has 28 days to lodge an objection which the TelstraSuper Claims Review Committee will consider.
If the beneficiary(ies) are still not satisfied with the decision of the Claims Review Committee they may lodge a complaint with the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT)*. The SCT is an independent body set up by the government to assist in the resolution of certain complaints in relation to superannuation.
* From 1 November 2018, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will replace the SCT for all new complaints.
How do my dependants claim if they live overseas?
You can contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our claims team will assist your dependants through the claims process.
Income Protection claim FAQs
What is the process of making an Income Protection claim?
Income Protection insurance can provide you with a replacement income while you’re temporarily unable to continue performing the regular duties of your occupation due to an injury or illness.
If you believe you may be eligible to apply for an Income Protection benefit we’re here to help. Contact us and refer to the Making an Income Protection claim factsheet to find out more.
When you notify us of your claim by phone, we’ll submit your details to our insurer, TAL, who will arrange a time with you to conduct a phone interview.
How much Income Protection will I receive?
Income Protection insurance can provide replacement income of up to 75% of your salary excluding super, with an additional 10% paid to your super.
Your Income Protection payments are paid directly to you by TAL and may be backdated. If you’ve been paid sick leave or any other 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?
Our insurer TAL will contact you to arrange a time with you to conduct a phone interview. To qualify for income protection benefits, you’ll need to provide evidence of your illness or disability. The cause of your disability or illness is irrelevant.
TAL 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. TAL may also obtain employment and vocational information to assess your claim.
How long will it take to assess my Income Protection claim?
It may take some time for our insurer TAL to obtain the necessary information from various parties such as doctors, employers and third parties that they’ll need to assess your condition.
We act as your advocate during the claim process and TAL are required to provide us with regular updates during the assessment of your claim. To speed up the process, please provide any medial and/or vocational information you may have to support your claim.
How long will it take until I start receiving income protection payments?
Depending on your 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 illness or injury 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 – 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.
Refer to your current super statement or log into your online account to see your waiting period and benefit period.
Do I have to use up all 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 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’re able to return to work part-time, and not earning more than your usual income, then you will be entitled to a partial disability benefit. Our insurer, TAL, will be in touch with your regarding the ongoing requirements of the claim for partial disability and will support your return to work where possible.
Am I required to do anything further once I've started receiving Income Protection payments?
The Income Protection assessment will be ongoing for the duration of your benefit period. Therefore, you may be required to provide ongoing monthly progress claim forms to TAL, completed by yourself and your doctor outlining the status of your claimed condition for the month and any other information required to assess your claim, such as financial information.
TAL will contact you directly regarding the ongoing requirements of the claim and will also provide you with initiatives to support your return to health where possible.
Total and Permanent Disablement claim FAQs
What is the process for making a TPD claim?
Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) insurance provides you with a lump sum payment into your superannuation account if you become permanently disabled through injury or illness.
If you believe you may be eligible to apply for a TPD claim, we are here to help. Contact us and refer to the Making a Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) claim factsheet to find out more.
When you notify us of your claim by phone, we’ll submit your details to our insurer, TAL, who will arrange a time with you to conduct an interview over the phone.
How do I qualify for TPD benefits?
To obtain a benefit you must have TPD cover and satisfy the relevant requirements of the TelstraSuper Trust Deed and TAL Policy and have:
- ceased work with your employer (and been off work for at least three months*) if the Unable to Work TPD definition applies; or
- satisfied one of 19 specified medical conditions (see Insurance Guide for more information) in which case there is no waiting period to receive your benefit (referred to as the Day 1 TPD definition); or
- be unable to perform certain Activities of Daily Working without the physical assistance of another person if the Activities of Daily Working TPD definition applies.
Note: The applicable TPD definition you must satisfy will depend upon your working hours.
What benefits will be paid?
Providing you meet the relevant criteria, you will be eligible to receive insurance benefits in addition to gaining early access to your super. These benefits may come as either a lump-sum or regular payments. In terms of the amount, this will depend on the type of insurance cover you have and how much you are insured for.
What evidence do I need?
A claim must be supported by medical evidence confirming you meet the criteria for TPD. Our insurer TAL will obtain medical information regarding your claimed condition from your treating doctors. TAL may request additional information in support of your claim. This may include employment, financial information as well as independent medical examinations or any other information deemed necessary as a part of your claim. TelstraSuper will review these requests to ensure that the request is reasonable.
How long will it take to assess my TPD claim?
It may take some time for our insurer TAL to obtain the necessary information from various parties such as doctors, employers and third parties that they’ll need to assess the totality and permanency of your condition.
We act as your advocate during the claim process and TAL are 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 benefits 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 for the release of the benefit.
If you believe you may be eligible to apply for a terminal illness benefit we’re here to help. 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:
- a member’s TelstraSuper account balance
- any insurance benefit payable, if the member has an active death insurance cover.
When can I access terminal illness benefits?
If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you should contact us as soon as possible and we’ll be able to help you. You may be able to access your superannuation and an insured benefit (if applicable).