What is TPD insurance?

Quick answer

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance provides lump sum compensation if injury or illness leaves you permanently unable to work.

Your eligibility depends on how your policy defines TPD. Most policies only allow you to claim TPD if you’re unlikely to return to ‘any occupation’. However, some will allow you to claim if you can still do some work but cannot return to ‘your occupation’.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for a TPD payout, check your policy or call us today.

In depth answer

Most people automatically hold TPD insurance through their superannuation policy. This means you may have TPD insurance without even realising it.

A successful TPD claim does not affect your superannuation balance. Instead, you’ll receive an additional lump sum payment based on your level of cover.

Alternatively, you may have purchased a private TPD policy through your insurer.

Determining your eligibility for a TPD payout

Your eligibility for a TPD payout depends on whether you have a ‘your occupation’ or an ‘any occupation’ policy.

‘Your occupation’ policies

A ‘your occupation’ policy means you can make a TPD claim if you can’t return to:

  • Your pre-injury job, or
  • Any job within your education, training and experience.

For example, if a labourer permanently injures their back, a ‘your occupation’ policy entitles them to claim TPD even if doctors say they can work in an office. A TPD payout means the labourer won’t be able to work in their field again. However, they can retrain for a new job outside their education, training and experience.

‘Any occupation’ policies

An ‘any occupation’ policy means you can only claim TPD if you’re unlikely to work again. You will be assessed by your insurer’s doctors and must provide strong evidence supporting your ongoing inability to work. This might include:

  • Permanent care requirements
  • Inability to travel
  • Mobility issues
  • Distance from suitable work.

Illnesses or injuries that qualify as TPD

Any injury or illness that permanently prevents you from returning to work qualifies as TPD.

You can claim TPD for physical injuries, illnesses, and psychological conditions. This includes:

  • Back injuries
  • MS, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Cancer
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental illnesses.

As long as you’re permanently off work, most funds will allow a TPD claim for any illness or injury. This can include pre-existing health conditions. Check the terms of your policy to confirm your condition is covered.

How much compensation you could receive

The amount of compensation you receive depends on your policy. Since TPD insurance is paid out as a lump sum, you can use it to cover any expenses, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Domestic care
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Mortgage repayments
  • Bills and other debts
  • Family support
  • Training for a new job (if you have a ‘your occupation’ policy).

How long your claim will take

How long your TPD claim takes depends on your insurer, the complexity of your claim, and how well your claim is prepared. With the help of an expert TPD lawyer, your claim could take as little as 3–6 months.

In our experience, claims made without legal representation are slower and have a lower chance of success. Insurers often mistreat unrepresented workers, making unnecessary demands and rejecting claims without sufficient reason.

Returning to work after a TPD payout

There are a few circumstances when you can return to work after a successful TPD claim. The options available depend on whether you have a ‘your occupation’ or ‘any occupation’ policy.

‘Your occupation’ policy

With a ‘your occupation’ policy, you can usually return to any work under 3 circumstances:

  • You retrain for new work outside of your education, training and experience
  • Your condition unexpectedly improves
  • You’re still unable to perform everyday tasks.

‘Any occupation’ policy

Under an ‘any occupation’ policy, you can only return to work if:

  • Your condition unexpectedly improves
  • You’re still unable to perform everyday tasks.

On top of your policy type, you’ll also need to check what is allowed under your individual policy. Resuming work without a valid reason can violate the terms of your policy and put your compensation at risk.

Get free claim advice

We offer a free consultation to assess your case, explain your options, and answer your questions. It's fast, confidential, and obligation-free.