How do I make a death benefits claim?

Published 07 Feb 2018

The loss of someone close to you is devastating. Yet, surviving family members must normally handle mountains of paperwork and admin during an already traumatic time following a loved one's death.

One of these responsibilities is making a death benefits claim, which ensures the deceased's accumulated superannuation is distributed to their nominated beneficiaries.

If you think you are entitled to death benefits, there are several steps you should take.

1. Check you are eligible

Death benefits are paid to eligible dependants, including spouses, children and anyone who was financially reliant on the deceased while they were alive.

The benefit payment should comprise the balance of the super account at the time of the individual's death, plus any life insurance benefits that the fund provides to members.

2. Contact the super fund

You or a legal representative should inform the super fund that a loved one has died. Ensure you have certain details on hand, such as:

  • The deceased's name and fund member number;
  • Their date of birth and date of passing; and
  • Details of next of kin.

Every fund has different processes in place to handle death benefits, but you will likely be sent a claims form with accompanying instructions.

3. Complete the paperwork

You must fill in the claims form and provide additional documentation to support your request for death benefits. Again, the required paperwork may vary between funds, but often includes:

  • Birth and death certificates;
  • Marriage certificates for claiming spouses;
  • Birth certificates for the deceased's children;
  • Names and addresses for potential dependants; and
  • Copies of the will, if death benefits are payable to the deceased's estate.

4. Return the paperwork

Once you have compiled the necessary information, return the completed form and documentation to the fund and await a decision on your claim.

Hopefully, your claim will be approved and the fund will inform you how and when you will receive payments. Unfortunately, not all claims are successful.

5. Contact a superannuation disputes lawyer for help

A rejected claim doesn't have to be the end of the road for you and your family, so it's important to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer to see if there are options to dispute the decision.

Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers has decades of experience handling such claims and can provide expert guidance on the steps to take when a fund has turned you down for super death benefits. Contact us today to learn more.

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