Blog

Mental illness and Total and Permanent Disability claims

Published on 09 December 2021
Injuries and illnesses aren’t always just physical. Fortunately, TPD claims cover all types of injuries, including psychological and mental illness.

What is Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)?

TPD is a type of insurance commonly held in superannuation funds or private policies. In the event that you become unable to work due to an illness or injury, you may be entitled to claim compensation under such a policy.

In order to satisfy the criteria of TPD, it must be established that due to your illness or injury, you are unlikely to return to work in a job which you’re educated, trained and experienced in. You may be entitled to make a claim regardless of how your illness or injury came about.

Can TPD insurance be claimed due to a mental illness?

There is a common misconception that injuries must be physical in order to establish TPD. An injured person can make a TPD claim for mental illness solely, or in conjunction with a physical injury.

What mental illnesses can be claimed for?

Common mental illnesses experienced by our clients include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Adjustment disorder;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Schizophrenia disorder;
  • Chronic pain syndrome; and
  •  Physical symptoms induced my mental illness.

Does it matter how the mental illness arose?

Mental illnesses can develop from a myriad of situations like a workplace injury, motor vehicle accident, experiencing challenging life events, secondary to a physical injury or diagnoses – just to name a few.The root cause of your mental illness is not a deciding factor  when making a TPD claim It only matters that you can prove that your mental illness prevents you from being able to work.
A case study: 

Our client Alison works in accounts and sustained a lower back injury when lifting a box of files. After the incident, Alison took several months off work to recover. Throughout the time that she was unable to work, Alison developed a consequential psychological injury and was diagnosed with anxiety, adjustment disorder and depression.

After she had undergone extensive treatment, Alison received clearance to return to work and perform light duties, with relevant restrictions in place.

Prior to returning to work, Alison underwent a psychiatric evaluation. The report details her inability to concentrate and cope with complex situations as a result of her psychological injuries. Due to these symptoms of her psychological injury, Alison is unable to return to work despite having been certified as having a physical capacity to perform suitable duties.

Alison subsequently made a TPD claim with her superannuation fund. It was approved on the basis that she could not return back to work due to her psychological injuries.

This case study demonstrates a situation where a client can succeed in a TPD claim on the basis of their psychological symptoms, despite being able to physically perform their role.

Would you like advice regarding specific circumstances?

At Zaparas Lawyers, we have extensive experience in navigating TPD claims for clients who have ceased work due to a mental illness. Reach out to us to learn how we can help you.

Written by
Aphroditi Bakopanos
Aphroditi Bakopanos
Specialities: Superannuation