Receiving a terminal illness diagnosis can be confronting and frightening. Often, this challenging time is accompanied by increased medical involvement, and a strong desire to prioritise the things that are most important to you and your loved ones.

A terminal illness benefit payment can help to ease some of the financial worries at this time by providing early access to your super.

What is a terminal illness benefit?

If you’re diagnosed with a medical illness that will reduce your life expectancy to less than 24 months, you can claim the early release of your super account balance together with any death insurance cover you have.

Once your claim is approved, the total benefit payment is tax-free and paid directly to you.

It’s all in the guide

For full details on the insurance cover we offer, including important definitions of key terms relating to permanent incapacity claims, refer to our handy Insurance in your super guide for members.


How the claims process works

Call our Helpline and we’ll help you with the first steps of the claim and inform you of what’s involved with the overall process.

We’ll need to ask you a few questions about your medical condition to help determine the correct benefit you may be entitled to claim. You’ll need to have the following information available so we can initiate your claim:

  • Your Equip Super membership number
  • Details about your illness or injury
  • The date on which your condition first presented itself
  • The date of diagnosis, and
  • Your life expectancy as advised by your treating doctor.

We’ll then forward you all of the necessary claim forms to be completed by you, your treating doctor and specialists.

Once your eligibility to claim is established, we’ll need to collate a range of information to assess your entitlement to receive a benefit payment in line with superannuation law and the insurance policy terms and conditions. This information can include:

  • Claim forms – which will need to be completed and signed by you.
  • Medical statement – two forms will need to be completed, one by your treating doctor and the other by your specialist who will need to certify that even with medical treatment of your condition, your life expectancy is less than 24 months from the date of the certification.
  • Benefit payment form – you’ll need to provide instructions of how you’d like to receive payment of the approved benefit. Payment can be made as a full or partial lump sum withdrawal and can be paid directly into your account via electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by cheque. Any benefit not paid to you will be retained within your super account which you can access as needed.
  • Certified proof of identity – for security purposes, certified proof of your identity such as your driver’s licence or passport is required. A certified copy is simply a photocopy of an original document that has been sighted, signed and stamped by an authorised person as being a ‘certified true copy’. Photocopies of certified documents cannot be accepted.

If you have death cover as part of your super, the Insurer will assess the claim for the insured component and determine whether you satisfy the policy requirements at the date you were certified terminally ill. The Insurer may ask for further information from you or your doctor/s if needed.

We’ll strive to reach an outcome as quickly as possible and will keep you regularly updated throughout the assessment process.

All claims are referred to the Trustee office for approval once all the required information, including the Insurer’s decision relating to the insured benefit, has been received. The Trustee is responsible for ensuring the decision is fair and reasonable and meets the early release conditions as governed by superannuation legislation.

If your claim is approved, we’ll pay your benefit in accordance with your payment instructions.

If your claim is declined, we’ll let you know in writing why your claim doesn’t satisfy the definitions. Should this occur, or if you disagree with the decision, you can request a review. You’ll have the opportunity to provide further evidence to support your claim (if any). All review requests are treated as formal complaints and are independently assessed by the Insurer and Trustee.

If you’re not eligible to claim the insurance benefit, you may still be eligible for the early release of your super account balance due to your illness.

If our Insurer approves your insured benefit, the benefit will be allocated your account balance to form a final total benefit amount. This total benefit amount may be paid to you once the Trustee approves the claim.

The benefit can be paid as:

  • A full benefit payment via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by cheque, or
  • Partial lump sum withdrawals from your super account when you need to.

If you choose to leave your benefit in your super account, the insurance proceeds, together with your account balance, will continue to accrue returns based on the investment option/s you’ve chosen for your super account.

More about the claims process

Who can claim a terminal illness benefit?

To be eligible for payment of a terminal illness benefit, you need to meet the definition of a ‘terminal medical condition’, as outlined in superannuation law.

A terminal medical condition exists in relation to a person at a particular time if the following circumstances exist:

  • (a) Two registered medical practitioners have certified, jointly or separately, that the person suffers from an illness, or has incurred an injury, that is likely to result in the death of the person within a period (the certification period) that ends not more than 24 months after the date of the certification;
  • (b) At least one of the registered medical practitioners is a specialist practicing in an area related to the illness or injury suffered by the person;
  • (c) For each of the certificates, the certification period has not ended.

Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 - Reg 6.01A

Insurance cover is also subject to assessment and approval by the Insurance Policy relevant to your cover.

How long does it take?

The length of time a terminal illness claim takes depends on personal circumstances and the availability of the information we require from you and your doctors. Together with our Insurer, we prioritise and finalise most terminal illness claims within one month from when both medical certificates are received.

If you’re receiving income protection payments

Eligibility to receive a terminal illness benefit doesn’t affect any income protection (IP) payments you may be eligible to claim. Any IP payments you’re receiving will continue for as long as you satisfy the terms and conditions of the IP or salary continuance policy.

If you’re still working

You’re eligible to claim and receive a terminal illness benefit payment whilst you continue to work as long as you satisfy the terms and conditions of a ‘terminal medical condition’. Payment of the benefit remains tax-free and doesn’t require to you stop work or reduce the hours or duties of your job.

We're here to help

Remember, we’re here if you need us for assistance with the claims process, or if you have any queries about the progress of a claim, or for any insurance related queries.

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