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TPD and salary continuance claims: When should I make a complaint to the AFCA?

The AFCA is the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

The Authority handles and resolves financial complaints in relation to financial errors, breaches, and inappropriate conduct. The AFCA is an impartial authority that deal with all types of financial complaints from credit and finance to banking payments, insurance, and superannuation.

The AFCA is able to make a determination to award compensation to an individual who has suffered because of a financial institutions error, breach or inappropriate conduct. However, the AFCA cannot impose fines or punishments on financial institutions.

What complaints can the AFCA deal with?

The AFCA can handle complaints brought by an eligible person in relation to a member financial institution. Noting that the financial institution must be a member of the AFCA at the time of the complaint.

An eligible member is someone such as an account holder, someone who has the authority to act on the account, or with the financial institution such as a guardian or beneficiary.

Most Superannuation Funds are members of the AFCA, however, if you are not sure if your super fund is a member there is a search tool available on the AFCA website.

What type of complaints can be made?

A complaint can be made to the AFCA in relation to TPD, Salary Continuance, or Income Protections if:

  1. The Superannuation fund is not communicating with you
  2. The Superannuation fund / trustee has made an unfair / unsubstantiated determination
  3. The superannuation fund has not made a determination within the stipulated time frame
  4. The has been a delay in paying a benefit
  5. Incorrect or unauthorised transactions or changes to your superannuation policy that affect your benefits

When to make a complaint?

Before making a complaint to the AFCA, you should make a complaint directly to the Superfund or the Trustee.

Your lawyer will make the complaint to the Superfund / Trustee on your behalf.

Usually, once a complaint is made to a Superfund / Trustee they will escalate your complaint to the Internal Dispute Resolution team (IDR) who will investigate your complaint and notify you of their outcome.

If the Superfund / Trustee takes too long to get back to you or they fail to notify you of any progress or determination, or you are unhappy with the determination of the IDR your lawyer will then make a complaint to the AFCA.

Who makes the complaint?

Your lawyers will make the complaint to the AFCA. Your lawyer will have drafted comprehensive submissions on the error, breach, or inappropriate conduct of the superannuation fund or trustee.

Are there time restrictions for making complaints to the AFCA?

Yes, there are strict time frames for making superannuation complaints to the AFCA.

  1. Time restrictions if you have permanently ceased employment due to injury or illness:
    • If you have permanently ceased employment due to an injury or illness you must have made a claim under your Superfund / trustee within two years of becoming totally and permanently disabled (TPD), and
    • You then must refer the complaint to the AFCA within two years of the Superfund / trustee’s determination about the disability claim
  2. Time restrictions if you did not permanently cease employment due to injury or illness:

You must refer the complaint to the AFCA within six years of the superfund / trustee’s determination about the disability claim

What is the AFCA complaints process?

Once the complaint is made the AFCA will:

  1. Notify the superfund of the complaint
  2. Set down a timetable for resolution of the complaint
  3. If required investigate the complaint further
  4. Where necessary join another financial firm
  5. Allow the financial firm and the complainant to lodge submissions

Where possible the AFCA will facilitate:

  1. Negotiations, or
  2. Conciliation conference

If the above avenues are not possible or have not been successful, the AFCA may make a preliminary assessment, or they may proceed to determining the complaint.

Are AFCA decisions binding?

Where a complaint is resolved by way of agreement between the parties, or a determination is made by the decision maker, the determination of the AFCA is open for acceptance by the complainant for a period of 30 days.

If the complainant accepts the determination it then becomes final and binding on the Superfund / trustee.

NOTE: the superfund / trustee may appeal the decision under the Corporations Act but only in limited circumstances.

If the complainant does not accept the determination of the AFCA the determination is NOT binding on the complainant.

This means if the complainant is unhappy with the determination of the AFCA, the complaint can proceed to Court.

However, any information obtained during the AFCA investigation is confidential and cannot be used in Court proceedings unless the Court determines otherwise.

What remedies are available and what can the AFCA award?

  1. Vary, set aside, remit, substitute or confirm the super fund / trustee’s decision (all or in part)
  2. Set aside the terms or vary the terms of the governing rules
  3. Order the repayment or payment of money

There is no monetary limit on an amount that can be awarded by the AFCA when it comes to superannuation complaints and interest can also be awarded by the AFCA.

Click here read more about the AFCA

Garling & Co Lawyers

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Kimberly B.
23:14 14 Feb 24
Mathew is very knowledgable and has been of great assistance to me. All the staff are friendly and helpful. I'm so happy I found this firm.Thank you Mathew and team for your great work in my case.... I am 100% happy with what you achieved for me.read more
Julie M.
10:16 16 Jan 24
My last stage of Workers compensation claim was managed by Emma Perkins, Natasha Stojanovic, Rebecca Dunshea and Kelli Robinson at Garling and Co. Lawyers who went the extra mile with their service... from the beginning to the end of 3 years of my case. I have become very anxious with almost everything after a workplace injury and a lot of times I probably ask more questions than I need to, but Emma Perkins always finds clear answers to my questions in a short time and explains to me patiently even using her mealtime or between her meeting and make me feel that I have been very well take care and supported. I am so grateful and extremely satisfied. The excellent service, attitude, and culture of Metthew Garling and his team are second to none with a very high success rate. If you going to battle with your workplace injury for a short or long period, you are better off with Garling and Co. lawyers who are able back you up every step of the way. I strongly recommend it to anybody who needs their service like me. Julieread more
patrick P.
01:46 19 Dec 23
I like to say that I had a very wonderful experience,And the support, and also understanding with all my requests,I could not ask for a better team!Thank you Emma and also her assistant Rebecca... thank youread more
Kazi H.
13:38 13 Dec 23
Work cover fund is GOVT’S money but insurer think that it is from their 14th generation. So only they can have it. Not only that, people from the work, IME doctor from insurer, back to work... coordinator from work, Rehab provider from any side push the worker as hard as possible that the worker (doesn’t matter how the workers mental or psychical condition) either go back to his pre injury duty or leave the job.More over on that very bumpy any difficult journey some of them only treat the worker as a MONEY MAKING MECHINE .in some point worker feels like, no rooms to breath. On that moment need someone to support legally, someone to care, someone to relive.On my case I believe that, somehow, I manage to make my God happy. That’s why God sends me to Matthew Gerling and his team Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, and all of GARLING & co Lawyers.I am not good enough in English, can’t express my gratitude.Matthew, Allison, Rebecca and Nathan, please accept my appreciation and pass it to others.read more
Carol L.
01:32 29 Nov 23
Professional, understanding and friendly
Sean G.
23:21 14 Nov 23
Matthew Garling and everyone I spoke to at Garling and Co were kind, caring and compassionate. They were sensitive to my psychological condition and were patient in explaining everything to me, so... that I clearly understood the legal process. I am exceptionally grateful for the settlement outcome that Garling and Co obtained for me. Many thanks.read more
waqas A.
08:33 13 Nov 23
Great Experience with Garling & Co. Matthew explained everything in detail during the first appointment. Allison, Nathan, Rebecca and the staff have been extremely helpful. Thank You to the team and... lawyers at Garling & Co. for making the long process easy for me and getting an excellent outcome for my compensation claim.I would highly recommend Garling & Co. Lawyersread more
Saskia L.
21:42 08 Nov 23
The world of workers compensation is long, hard and confusing, but Emma and Rebecca at Garling & Co always treated my case with kindness, respect and understanding. No question was ever silly and... they always had time to make sure I knew what would happen next and how we could best prepare. I am so thankful for their expertise and could not have chosen anyone better to represent me.read more
Antonio P.
08:46 06 Nov 23
Thank you Matthew and his team for taking care of my case couldn’t ask for a better results and couldn’t have better team to do that thank you
Julie M.
00:40 06 Nov 23
Garlic & Co Lawyers have been wonderful, supporting me through some difficult times. With their assistance, positive outcomes were achieved. Many thanks to the Team.Julie
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
The law society of nsw professional standards scheme logo.
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