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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...
Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
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Ray H.
07:33 13 Jun 24
Matthew Garling and Team are kind, patient, polite, professional, empathetic and efficient. I was treated terribly by the at fault insurer. Garling and Co. had my back. Matthew gently and patiently... kept me up to speed on all the steps to go through. From my personal experience I recommend these guys. They are safe hands. Thank you team.read more
Jo L.
05:58 07 May 24
So very impressed with the professional team who looked after me throughout the last 4 and 1/2 years. A special mention to Kerry and Nathan who navigated each request to fight for my right to gain... access to further treatments and physio and to ensure medical treatment would be covered moving forward. I was so grateful I could hand it all over to you and not have to go through this very challenging time without your support.I thank you for the compassion you have provided to me, from the first contact with Matthew and Natasha, to finalisation with Kerry and Nathan.I highly recommend the team at Garling and Co for any third party compensation claims. You are in good hands with them all.read more
Linda O.
21:53 06 May 24
Emma, Rebecca and the team at Garling and Co have worked diligently throughout my workers compensation claim. The level of professionalism, support and communication has been faultless. Of particular... note has been the sensitivity displayed to me throughout the lengthy process. Worker’s compensation claims are complex and not easy to navigate, particularly when you are unwell. I do not hesitate to recommend Garling and Co to help you find a way through this otherwise unfathomable system.read more
Keith H.
20:51 23 Apr 24
After my case stalled with another firm, I decided to give Matthew Garling a call. He took my case and not only won, but achieved an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. This firm is the best... in the business in my opinion and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.read more
Anthony T.
00:50 16 Apr 24
Thank you Matthew and his team who guided me through the legal process, a truly positive experience with total professionalism.
Mikaele N.
03:01 15 Apr 24
Garling &Co Lawyers were awesome, I called every compensation law firm and was told that I couldn't claim for compensation.The whole experience and process was simple and stress free.Mr Matthew... Garling and Allison deserve an accolades for the very best in client service. I would highly recommend their service to anyone.read more
Tamara L.
02:10 15 Apr 24
I want to thank Garling & Co so much for all the help they have given me and helped with my claim. We got the win last week and it was the best news I have gotten considering how much my life has... been turned upside down the past 2 years. Emma and Rebecca have been incredible to work with and explained everything from the start even when I had hesitation to go ahead regarding how much everything would cost or how fair it could go or even if I had a chance, but they explained everything thoroughly, so I understood it all. Thank you for making this process seamlessly easy and helping me get the win it will make things a little easy for me that's for sure financial thank you for all your help I cannot recommend you and your services enough. Thank you again.read more
Sigrid W.
05:01 11 Apr 24
Utter professionalism from first phone call to final settlement. It was a pleasure to be represented by a firm that actually cares for their clients. From office staff, to paralegal and solicitor... Rebecca, Emma and Matthew thank you for your support and expertise throughout my claim. No wonder your firm has won many awards. I'm extremely happy with my outcome and can confidently recommend your firm.read more
BJ S.
01:09 09 Apr 24
Highly recommend Matthew & Allison at Garling and Co ! Quick response ! helpful every step of the way ! If you want the best compensation lawyer, Matthew @ Garling and co is the bestDoesn’t waste... time. Very informative ! excellent guidance! They get the job done ✅Website is perfect guide5 Star ⭐️ is not enoughI’m so grateful to Matthew, Allison and team for my outcome so far !Thank you 😊 Garling and co are awesome 👏 🤩read more
Jaimie K.
06:11 02 Apr 24
Have had a rollercoaster ride with Garling and Co over the several years we have been battling the system that injured workers are faced with. The wheels of progress are slow within this system.... However Garling and co have always stood by me. Calls are returned and matters are always followed up in a timely manner.read more
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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