I have a serious illness and can't work. What are my options?

Published 22 Feb 2017

Serious illnesses can come in a variety of forms, whether it's a chronic condition that you've suffered from for the majority of your life, or a sudden malady that can strike you down out of nowhere.

Whatever your ailment, you may be forced to take time away from the workplace, which can have a significant impact on your financial and emotional health.

There are often a number of avenues open to individuals who find themselves in this position, but the financial support you are eligible to receive will depend on various factors.

You will also need to have the appropriate coverage as part of your superannuation package or insurance policy. Let's take a closer look at what options are available.

Income protection

Income protection provides you with financial support, typically through monthly payments, while you're off work with an illness or injury. Every policy is different, but you will usually receive approximately 75 per cent of your gross annual salary with an overall maximum of $250,000 available in most cases.

An income protection policy is useful when you are suffering from a short- or mid-term illness where you expect to eventually return to your job. However, the payout limit means income protection may not be suitable for people with critical illnesses or permanent disabilities.

Critical illness cover

Critical illness cover, as the name suggests, is an insurance product designed to pay out a lump sum if you are medically diagnosed with a serious disease or other ailment. These policies commonly include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, Alzheimer's disease and a wide range of other issues.

The level of coverage you receive will depend on your insurer's particular terms and conditions, but you can purchase more than one policy to encompass a wide spectrum of illnesses. Nevertheless, there are exceptions, such as extreme sport injuries, that you should be aware of before purchasing a policy.

Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance

You may be eligible for TPD insurance if your illness leaves you unable to return to work or if you cannot perform the same job roles for which you have the appropriate training, education or experience.

A successful TPD claim can result in a lump sum payment and the early release of your superannuation, which can help with medical bills, living costs, past and future loss of earnings, and other expenses.

Do you suffer from a serious illness? Get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers to see what compensation claims you can make.

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