Can You Get TPD for Depression?

14 June 2023 | Total and Permanent Disability

You may be entitled to TPD for depression if you can demonstrate that the condition prevents you from working. Although mental illnesses account for a significant portion of claims for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), it can be difficult to recover the benefit for depression.

TPD Compensation Lawyers are committed to maximising your entitlement. Our lawyers will thoroughly review your medical records and other evidence, complete and lodge the TPD application on your behalf, and handle all communications with the super insurer.

Find out if you have a viable TPD claim for depression. Call TPD Compensation Lawyers at 03 9966 7188 today for a FREE consultation.

What Is Depression, Exactly?

Depression is often oversimplified. It is far more than occasional periods of feeling ‘down in the dumps’. People with depression suffer chronic and prolonged feelings of sadness or emptiness. These emotions affect not only mental health but physical well-being, behaviour, and day-to-day functioning.

According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 7 Australians suffers from depression. Some people with depression are able to live relatively normal lives with medication, counselling, and lifestyle changes. Those with serious depression, however, may struggle in multiple aspects of their daily lives—including employment.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

The symptoms of depression vary from person to person. People with depression may experience some or all of the following:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in favourite activities and pastimes
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances (e.g., difficult falling asleep, sleeping too much, etc.)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Loss of joy or pleasure (anhedonia)
  • Withdrawal from social life
  • Suicidal thoughts
    • NOTE: Call Helpline Australia at 13 11 14 if you are in crisis

Major depression (also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a serious mental illness. It is characterised by feeling depressed every day for a minimum of 2 weeks. Other types of depression—including psychotic depression (which can result in delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia) and bipolar depression (which can result in mood swings between mania and depression)—can severely impact multiple areas of an individual’s life.

If you are struggling with feelings of depression, you should speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. Depression rarely goes away on its own, and timely care is essential for your mental and physical health.

Can I Claim the TPD Benefit for Depression?

As a rule, mental illnesses are covered under TPD insurance. The key is proving that your depression qualifies as a Total and Permanent Disability. Superannuation insurers often use slightly different definitions, which can make it difficult to know if you qualify.

The first step is confirming that you are covered by TPD insurance (coverage is usually provided by an employer). Next, the policy will need to be reviewed thoroughly to ascertain how Total and Permanent Disability is defined. A specialist TPD lawyer can provide you with qualified assistance.

Finally, it must be shown that your depression meets the criteria for a TPD cover. Basic questions that can help determine whether you are entitled to TPD for depression include:

  • Were you able to work prior to when the depression started?
  • Has depression made it impossible for you to perform the physical and/or mental requirements of your occupation?
  • Is your ability to perform day-to-day tasks (such as getting ready for and travelling to work) adversely affected by depression?
  • Have you been unable to do your job for a minimum of 3–6 months (the usual waiting period for TPD cover) as a result of the depression?
  • Have you been unable to do any job for a minimum of 3–6 months as a result of the depression?
    • NOTE: The conditions above satisfy, respectively, the ‘own occupation’ or ‘any occupation’ requirements used by super insurers to evaluate eligibility for TPD.
  • Is your depression not expected to improve with treatment?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may have a claim for TPD.

Proving Your Entitlement

Remember: Just because you can’t work right now does not mean that you are entitled to a TPD benefit. You need to establish that the depression is:

  1. Total (i.e., you have no capacity to work)
  2. Permanent (i.e., you are not expected to be able to return to work)

Depending on the type of TPD cover, you might also need to prove that your depression prevents you from performing any job for which you are qualified.

Strong medical evidence is needed to prove your eligibility for the TPD benefit. In addition to medical records documenting your depression, the insurance company may request signed statements from multiple doctors who have treated you for depression (your GP and a psychiatrist, for example). An Independent Medical Examination (IME) may also be required.

Unlike with physical injuries and illnesses, proving the nature and severity of depression and other mental disorders can be difficult. For this reason, the super insurer is likely to scrutinise your application.

You may receive requests for additional information. Even if you fulfil the requests, attend the IMEs, etc., your claim may still be rejected. However, if you can no longer work as a result of severe depression, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer specialising in TPD claims straight away.

Claiming TPD for Depression? Get Help Today

Depression is painful. In addition to your mental and physical well-being, it can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life.

TPD Compensation Lawyers helps people throughout Australia claim the Total and Permanent Disability lump sum payment they are due for depression and other disorders. We take your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you pay nothing if we are unable to secure an entitlement on your behalf.

Our lawyers have decades of experience navigating complex insurance rules and compensation schemes. This includes an in-depth knowledge of superannuation insurance and TPD cover.

For a FREE consultationcontact TPD Compensation Lawyers.