Can I work after a TPD Payout?

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 receiving my TPD benefit? In this blog post, we will examine your legal options if you consider returning to work. We hope this information helps you make the best decision for your future. Thank you for reading!
Handing over money after a successful 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. This is reliant 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

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

In the circumstance that 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, you may like to speak with your doctor and lawyer to ensure you comply with your TPD policy’s requirements.

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What is the meaning of TPD?

Various insurers and insurance policies have different meanings for Total and Permanent Disability. Your opportunity to return to work will depend on your terms and conditions. You should read and understand your insurance policy. Commonly TPD is defined as at least one of the following

  • cannot work again, work within your usual occupation
  • cannot return to work in any occupation
  • cannot work again within your existing experience, education, or training
  • must be unable to do your normal living activities; and
  • must lose the use of two limbs or your sight.


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 let you know 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 and have a back injury that stops you from doing carpentry work, you can likely claim a lump sum payout from your Superannuation TPD insurer. After your payout, 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 out 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 are paid out 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 payout. 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 go back to work in the future.

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

If for some reason, you provided inaccurate or misleading evidence when you made your TPD claim, and then you seek to return to work, your insurer would ask that you return your payout.

Knowing your legal options to return to work can be complex and fraud with potential pitfalls. You must know and understand 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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