Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Types of insurance claims

Death benefit claim FAQs

  • Who can receive a death benefit?

    Superannuation law provides that the Trustee can pay a death benefit to:

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

    A dependant of a member includes:

    • the spouse of the member (married, de facto or same-sex);
    • 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 be nominated?

    Yes. A member can nominate one or more of their dependants and/or legal personal representative.

  • Who can lodge a death benefit claim?

    The spouse, child, family member or legal personal representative 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 base death and top up 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 Trustee decides to pay the death benefit 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 be made for a member’s 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 their 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.

    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 in the presence of two witnesses, both of whom are aged 18 or over and neither of whom are named as a beneficiary; and
    • 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.

    Eligible dependants include:

    • the member’s spouse
    • a child under the age of 18
    • a child aged 18–25 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 who 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.

  • 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 Claims Review Committee will consider the objection.

    If a potential beneficiary is not satisfied with the decision of the Claims Review 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 claim?

    Income Protection 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 please 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 Life Limited (TAL), who will arrange a time with you to conduct a phone interview.

  • How much Income Protection will I receive?

    Income Protection can provide a monthly payment to replace 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 TAL and payments 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 an income protection benefit, you will 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 in order to assess your medical 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.

  • How long will it take until I start receiving income protection payments?

    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 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.

    Please 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 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’re able to return to work part-time, and not earning more than your usual income, then you may be entitled to a partial disability benefit. Our insurer, TAL, will be in touch with you 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 start receiving Income Protection payments?

    The income protection 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 TAL 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 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.

  • 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 TAL decides your claim is unsuccessful, the Trustee will review the 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 TAL to review the decision if new evidence is received.

    Once a final decision is made to you in writing and, if you’re still dissatisfied, you may lodge a complaint with AFCA.

    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 claim FAQs

  • What is the process for making a TPD claim?

    Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) cover 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 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 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 in place and satisfy the relevant requirements of the TelstraSuper Trust Deed, TAL insurance 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 all of the Domestic Duties or certain Activities of Daily Working without the physical assistance of another person if the Domestic Duties or Activities of Daily Working TPD definition applies.

    * 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 a TPD benefit in addition to gaining 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 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 and financial information as well as independent medical examinations or any other information deemed necessary as a part of your claim.  The Trustee 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 in order to assess your medical condition.

    We act as your advocate during the claim process and TAL 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, which:

    • two medical practitioners (one of whom specialises in an area related to your illness or injury) believe will lead to your death within 12 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 12 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:

    • the member’s account balance
    • any death cover 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).