Can You Work After a TPD Payout? Legal Guide

Like many people, the first thing you want to do after being paid out from a total and permanent disability insurance policy is take some time for yourself. At some point, you might wonder: Can I work after a TPD payout? This legal guide examines your options for returning to work after a successful TPD claim.
Can I work after a TPD payout

Guide to Working after a TPD claim

Can I return to work after a TPD payout?

The good news is that some people can return to some form of employment after successfully receiving a TPD payout. However, this is dependent on several circumstances, the main ones being:

  1. The seriousness of your illness or injury
  2. Your type of injury or medical condition
  3. The terms and conditions of your TPD insurance cover

There may be a few different options available to you, depending on your situation.

For example, if your medical condition improves because of a new treatment or medication, you could take training to enter a new occupation that fits with your revised skills and physical condition.

If you are considering this option, we recommend you consult your doctor and TPD lawyer to ensure you comply with the requirements of your TPD policy.

What is the meaning of TPD?

Various insurers and insurance policies have different meanings for Total and Permanent Disability. The opportunity to return to work after successful TPD claims depends on the terms and conditions of the TPD policy.

In Australia, total permanent disability is commonly defined as at least one of the following:

  • Cannot work again in your usual or own occupation
  • Cannot return to work in any occupation
  • Cannot work again within your existing experience, education, or training
  • Can’t do your normal living activities

Can You Work With a Total and Permanent Disability?

Receiving a TPD payout does not always mean you can’t work again. Some people can access TPD benefits using the definitions of activities of daily living or loss of sight or limbs while still working. You might do the same under the definitions of experience, education and training, or your usual occupation, but this is much more difficult. Our expert TPD Lawyers could tell you what might apply to your circumstances.

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TPD for Your Own Occupation

Most TPD insurance policies pay a benefit if you can’t work in your regular job because of your injury or medical condition. So, if you are a carpenter with a back injury that stops you from doing carpentry work, you can likely claim a lump sum TPD benefit through your superannuation TPD insurer.

After a TPD lump sum payment, you could train to work in a different type of job. Under the above circumstances, you can return to work if you are not doing carpentry.

TPD for Any Occupation

Returning to work may be more challenging if your TPD insurer pays your benefit under the terms: you can’t work in any profession. This includes your regular job and any other type of job. When you receive a lump sum payout under “any occupation,” your capacity to work would be evaluated in other positions for which you could retrain.

Here is an example: You have been diagnosed with a severe Bipolar condition, can no longer work, and receive a TPD payment. Later, a new treatment is accessible for your mental health condition, and you recover to the point where you can do a job (but not your regular job). In this circumstance, you generally can return to work.

Do i have to return my TPD payout if I work again?

If you’re wondering whether you must return your TPD insurance payout if you work again, the answer is generally no. Once approved for disability insurance benefits, the money is typically yours to keep, regardless of whether you return to work.

However, the answer can vary depending on the details of your case. Sometimes, a TPD payment is treated as “damages” and is not subject to repayment. However, in other cases, TPD payouts may be treated as “income benefits” that you must repay if you return to work.

If you provided inaccurate or misleading evidence when you made your permanent disability claim and then returned to work, your insurer would ask that you return your payout.

Knowing your legal options to return to work can be complex and fraught with potential pitfalls. So please seek professional advice regarding the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.

It is best to speak with an expert TPD lawyer who can review your case and advise you accordingly.

Where can I find out more about TPD Claims?

There are many variations in TPD policies between Superannuation funds and insurers. It would be challenging to understand all the terms and conditions that apply to you now and after you have made a claim.

Fortunately, our legal team has more than 100 years of combined experience, working with TPD Claims, Super funds, and insurance policies daily.

To understand your unique circumstances, call us for a chat on 1300 873 252. It costs nothing to know your legal options.



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