New time limits for TPD complaints

Amendments have been made to the legislation that governs the operation of the Tribunal - the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 - by the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Services Providers and Other Governance Measures) Act 2013.

The amendments extend the time limits in which to make complaints to the Tribunal about decisions of the trustees of a superannuation fund relating to the payment of a disability benefit.  The new time limits apply where the trustee's decision is made on or after 1 July 2013.

The amendments were made as part of the Government's Stronger Super reforms.

Trustee decisions made on or after 1 July 2013 - new time limit

If a trustee's decision was made on or after 1 July 2013, the Tribunal can only deal with a complaint about a decision of a trustee of a fund relating to the payment of a disability benefit because of total and permanent disablement (TPD) in the following circumstances:

  • if you permanently ceased employment because of the physical or mental condition that gave rise to the claim for the TPD benefit, then both your claim for the payment of a TPD benefit was made to the trustee within 2 years of you permanently ceasing employment and your complaint is made to the Tribunal within 4 years of the trustee's decision about your claim
  • if you did not permanently cease employment because of the physical or mental condition that gave rise to the claim for the TPD benefit, your complaint is made to the Tribunal within 6 years after the making of the trustee's decision about your claim.

Trustee decisions made before 1 July 2013 - previous time limits remain

There is no change in relation to the Tribunal's ability to deal with a complaint where the trustee's decision was made before 1 July 2013.

If the trustee's decision was made before 1 July 2013, the Tribunal will still only be able to deal with a complaint about a decision of a trustee of a fund relating to the payment of a disability benefit because of total and permanent disablement (TPD) in the following circumstances:

  • if you permanently ceased employment because of the physical or mental condition that gave rise to the claim for the TPD benefit, your claim for the payment of a TPD benefit was made to the trustee within 2 years of you permanently ceasing employment; and
  • in all cases, your complaint is made to the Tribunal within 2 years of the trustee's decision about your claim.

No change to other aspects

As for all complaints, the Tribunal is not able to deal with a complaint about the decisions unless a complaint was first made under the fund's own complaint handling arrangements.

For both sets of time limits, the relevant date is the date your employment is formally terminated, rather than the last day you are able to work.

For both sets of time limits, the fund trustee's decision about your claim is the trustee's first (or original) decision to deny your claim.  This means that even though you made a complaint to the trustee about that decision, and the trustee may be reconsidering or is considering new evidence, you can still only complain to the Tribunal within the relevant time of the first (or original) decision.