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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

About Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling, Founder of Garling & Co is a NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. He specialises in compensation law and has acted on behalf of thousands of injured people in work accidents, motor vehicle accidents and negligence cases over the last 20 years.

Zee
14:20 15 Jan 22
I would like to thank the entire team at Garling and Co for being in my corner throughout the worst years I've experienced in my life.I chose Garling and Co in the end after being seriously injured... at work and needing representation, something I should have done years prior.I met with over 12 other legal firms in Sydney. Large,medium, small and all in between. Some were friends, some family, some were sharks, many were pressuring, many promised the world, Matthew was not like that.Matthew was the benchmark as he was one of the first I spoke with and ultimately he stood out in the end as I felt he was the most genuine.From the outset to the conclusion, I found Matthew to be very polite, easy to communicate with and extremely down to earth.He explained everything simply, he had answers for any questions along the way. He told me it how it was, not just what I wanted to hear.Matthew is a genuine nice guy that runs a very efficient and professional law firm. I made the correct choice engaging him in my claims and would not hesitate in recommending him.Renee was also terrific in handling my TPD claim which was literally finalised faster then international postage.Allison, Rebecca and Kelli were all great, always.Thanks again Garling and Co.read more
mark S.
06:30 23 Dec 21
I found from my very first meeting With Matthew that he was upfront honest and to the point . He thoroughly investigated my claim and we agreed too proceed.The staff at Garling and Co are wonderful... and helpful and I was kept informed and upto date from day one till the end .They made me feel confident and secure and I know I had the best team possible for my best outcome .I can’t thank Matthew and the team for their wonderful serviceread more
Daniel F.
08:48 10 Nov 21
My wife suffered psychological injury.Never having similar experience she had to get legal advice.Workers compensation law is complex and she needed someone to help her navigate her way through.... There are many compensation lawyers but not all with enough experience and strong reputation . We have finally decided to go with Matthew and his team based on the independent website reviews .Looking back now we have made the right choice .There is lot of hurdles and having trustworthy lawyer with great communication skills on your side can make huge difference .My wife can now try to move on with the compensation she deserved.Thanks to Matthew ,Allison ,Emma,Rebecca and rest of the team. Thank you again.Daniel and Veerayaread more
K B.
07:35 28 Oct 21
When you work for an employer for a number of decades and suffer a debilitating injury, you expect compassion, support and belief that you are genuine. When you don’t get that and then also have to... deal with Workers Compensation Insurers it slowly breaks you.That's when you need amazing support like Matthew Garling and his team. From my first meeting with Matthew I was confident I was referred to the right guy. I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. Matthew is the Guru of workers compensation, he is professional, easy to work with, nothings a bother and most importantly he gets great results. Do not think twice about using Garling and Co Lawyers.Thank you Matthew, Renee, Allison and Kelli for your invaluable support.read more
Moussa I.
14:23 20 Sep 21
Great attitude! they return my call every time I callI'm very confident I will reach something good with garling &co
Dulce L.
08:48 23 Aug 21
Garling & Co have been exceptional. Matthew was always professional attentive clear and concise, I felt up most confidence in his management dealing with my matter always had my best interest. i... highly recommend Garling & Co Lawyersread more
Melissa H
11:53 10 Aug 21
I am grateful to have had Matthew represent me on my motor vehicle compensation claim.After meeting with two lawyers previous to deciding on Garling and co, I was left unsure and confused as to... where I stood regarding my claim. Matthew and Allison were incredibly helpful, put my mind at ease, and took the worry and stress out of an already difficult situation.Through the settlement process they would always keep me informed and made time to answer all of my questions. I am really pleased with the outcome of the settlement.Thank you to the team at Garling and Coread more
Violeta C.
07:30 05 Aug 21
My experience with Garling & Co was great. Matthew was always professional, attentive and communicated in a clear manner. I felt confident in his management of my matter & always had my best interest... in mind.I have no reservation in recommending Matthew & the Garling & Co team.read more
Sonia C.
03:04 05 Aug 21
Ann F.
04:11 04 Aug 21
Professional and helpful
READ ALL TESTIMONIALS

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Zee
14:20 15 Jan 22
I would like to thank the entire team at Garling and Co for being in my corner throughout the worst years I've experienced in my life.I chose Garling and Co in the end after being seriously injured... at work and needing representation, something I should have done years prior.I met with over 12 other legal firms in Sydney. Large,medium, small and all in between. Some were friends, some family, some were sharks, many were pressuring, many promised the world, Matthew was not like that.Matthew was the benchmark as he was one of the first I spoke with and ultimately he stood out in the end as I felt he was the most genuine.From the outset to the conclusion, I found Matthew to be very polite, easy to communicate with and extremely down to earth.He explained everything simply, he had answers for any questions along the way. He told me it how it was, not just what I wanted to hear.Matthew is a genuine nice guy that runs a very efficient and professional law firm. I made the correct choice engaging him in my claims and would not hesitate in recommending him.Renee was also terrific in handling my TPD claim which was literally finalised faster then international postage.Allison, Rebecca and Kelli were all great, always.Thanks again Garling and Co.read more
mark S.
06:30 23 Dec 21
I found from my very first meeting With Matthew that he was upfront honest and to the point . He thoroughly investigated my claim and we agreed too proceed.The staff at Garling and Co are wonderful... and helpful and I was kept informed and upto date from day one till the end .They made me feel confident and secure and I know I had the best team possible for my best outcome .I can’t thank Matthew and the team for their wonderful serviceread more
Daniel F.
08:48 10 Nov 21
My wife suffered psychological injury.Never having similar experience she had to get legal advice.Workers compensation law is complex and she needed someone to help her navigate her way through.... There are many compensation lawyers but not all with enough experience and strong reputation . We have finally decided to go with Matthew and his team based on the independent website reviews .Looking back now we have made the right choice .There is lot of hurdles and having trustworthy lawyer with great communication skills on your side can make huge difference .My wife can now try to move on with the compensation she deserved.Thanks to Matthew ,Allison ,Emma,Rebecca and rest of the team. Thank you again.Daniel and Veerayaread more
K B.
07:35 28 Oct 21
When you work for an employer for a number of decades and suffer a debilitating injury, you expect compassion, support and belief that you are genuine. When you don’t get that and then also have to... deal with Workers Compensation Insurers it slowly breaks you.That's when you need amazing support like Matthew Garling and his team. From my first meeting with Matthew I was confident I was referred to the right guy. I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. Matthew is the Guru of workers compensation, he is professional, easy to work with, nothings a bother and most importantly he gets great results. Do not think twice about using Garling and Co Lawyers.Thank you Matthew, Renee, Allison and Kelli for your invaluable support.read more
Moussa I.
14:23 20 Sep 21
Great attitude! they return my call every time I callI'm very confident I will reach something good with garling &co
Dulce L.
08:48 23 Aug 21
Garling & Co have been exceptional. Matthew was always professional attentive clear and concise, I felt up most confidence in his management dealing with my matter always had my best interest. i... highly recommend Garling & Co Lawyersread more
Melissa H
11:53 10 Aug 21
I am grateful to have had Matthew represent me on my motor vehicle compensation claim.After meeting with two lawyers previous to deciding on Garling and co, I was left unsure and confused as to... where I stood regarding my claim. Matthew and Allison were incredibly helpful, put my mind at ease, and took the worry and stress out of an already difficult situation.Through the settlement process they would always keep me informed and made time to answer all of my questions. I am really pleased with the outcome of the settlement.Thank you to the team at Garling and Coread more
Violeta C.
07:30 05 Aug 21
My experience with Garling & Co was great. Matthew was always professional, attentive and communicated in a clear manner. I felt confident in his management of my matter & always had my best interest... in mind.I have no reservation in recommending Matthew & the Garling & Co team.read more
Sonia C.
03:04 05 Aug 21
Ann F.
04:11 04 Aug 21
Professional and helpful
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