Invalidity benefits for current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
Different invalidity benefits may be payable to current and former members of the ADF depending on their super fund and their circumstances when they claim.
Current serving ADF members
Serving members of the ADF will usually be a member of one of the following super funds:
- Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits scheme, also known as DFRDB
- Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme, also known as MilitarySuper
- ADF Super, or
- a super fund of their choice.
|Access to invalidity and death benefits|
|DFRDB and MilitarySuper members||Within their scheme|
|ADF Super members||ADF Cover*|
|Member’s choice fund||ADF Cover*|
|*ADF Cover is only accessible to serving members of the ADF under age 60—find out more about cover for civilian life in Former ADF members.|
Medical transition out of the ADF
When a serving member medically transitions (medically retires or discharges) out of the ADF, we determine if they’re eligible for invalidity benefits. Below are the key things we consider:
Are they eligible?
All serving members on continuous full-time service are covered 24/7. However, a person might not be eligible for invalidity benefits where their incapacity:
• is due to an intentional act committed with the purpose of obtaining the benefit,
• happened while having been absent without leave (AWOL) for more than 21 days (60 days for DFRDB members), or
• is caused, or substantially contributed to, by a pre-existing condition if they’re medically transitioning within 2 years of joining (1 year for DFRDB members). At the time of transition we’ll review any pre-existing conditions to establish whether there’s been material aggravation by the person’s ADF service, and if so they’ll be eligible for invalidity benefits.
What’s their level of incapacity?
The member’s level of incapacity for civilian employment determines the type of invalidity benefit payable. To determine this, we consider:
• their skills, qualifications and experience both pre- and in-service,
• the civilian employment types that can be undertaken with those skills, qualifications and experience, which is guided by ANZSCO, and
• the level of incapacity they would experience in performing those civilian employment types given the condition/s they were medically transitioned out for, which are known as retiring impairments.
After considering the above we can determine the person’s invalidity classification:
- Class A – 60% or more incapacity (high)
- Class B – 30-59% incapacity (moderate)
- Class C – less than 30% incapacity (small)
The invalidity classification determines their benefit:
- Class A or B – an invalidity pension is payable from the date following transition. A lump sum may also be payable depending on the scheme—more information is available on the invalidity application form.
- Class C – no invalidity pension is payable.
- DFRDB and MilitarySuper members will have their benefit preserved in the fund until they meet other eligibility requirements, such as retirement age.
- ADF Super members can continue to contribute to their account if they meet eligibility requirements. Otherwise, their benefit will be preserved in the fund until they meet preservation age, unless they decide to access it after meeting other eligibility requirements.
Reviewing a person's invalidity classification
|ADF Cover invalidity pensioners||Can be reviewed up to age 65||Must review 1–3 years after medical transition, or within 3 years of our original decision if reconsideration of that decision was requested|
|MilitarySuper invalidity pensioners||Can be reviewed up to age 65||Reviews can be at anytime|
|DFRDB invalidity pensioner||No age limit for reviews||Reviews can be at anytime|
We use a very similar test to the initial classification, and we also take into account any changes, including:
- any new skills, qualifications or experience,
- possible new employment opportunities from any new skills, qualifications or experience (again being guided by ANZSCO),
- any conditions that are causally connected to their retiring impairments,
- the level of incapacity that the member would experience in performing new or previously identified civilian employment.
After the review, we may change the member’s invalidity classification or keep it the same. If their invalidity classification changes, their benefit will change too.
People who didn't medically transition but believe they should have
A person may apply for retrospective invalidity benefits if they believe that they should have been medically transitioned out of the ADF. Depending on the scheme, there may be additional super related requirements a person needs to meet. We will consider whether they were suffering from a medical condition/s that would have justified a medical transition when they left the ADF. If we find that they should’ve medically transitioned, we’ll determine their invalidity classification as if they had been medically transitioned when they left the ADF.*
*Any DFRDB member going through the retrospective invalidity benefits process will need to apply to the ADF so that the relevant Chief of Army, Navy or Airforce can determine whether their transition could be treated as a medical transition. We may ask the ADF to provide recommendations in MilitarySuper or ADF Cover cases, but it’s not essential. You can read more on the ADF website.
Former ADF members
ADF Super members who have served for at least 12 continuous months may take their ADF Super to any employer after leaving the ADF. They won’t have access to ADF Cover after they leave the ADF, but if they meet the eligibility criteria they may be offered or be able to apply for lifePLUS Protect insurance cover.
Who’s eligible for lifePLUS Protect?
LifePLUS Protect insurance cover is available to eligible ADF Super members who are no longer serving in the ADF. Some ADF Super members will be eligible for insurance cover automatically, while others will need to opt in.
To be eligible for cover automatically ADF Super members must:
- be at least 16 but under 70 years old
- be 25 or older and have $6,000 or more in their ADF Super account
- have served in the ADF for more than 12 months continually before leaving
- ·not be receiving a Class A or B invalidity benefit when they left the ADF or up to 60 days after the date they left the ADF, and
- be an Australian resident who has a valid visa that allows them to live and work in Australia.
If an ADF Super member is under age 25 or has a super balance below $6,000 and wants insurance cover, they need to opt in to lifePLUS Protect auto cover within 60 days of leaving the ADF. We’ll let our ADF Super members know if they need to opt in to lifePLUS Protect when they leave the ADF.
An ADF Super member will no longer be eligible for lifePLUS Protect if we approve retrospective invalidity benefits and classify them Class A or B. We’ll work with our member to correct their ADF Super record.
ADF Super members who have medically transitioned out of the ADF and are receiving an ADF Cover Class A or B invalidity pension are still eligible to apply for lifePLUS Protect choice insurance cover. They must complete a full insurance application.
What does lifePLUS Protect include?
LifePLUS Protect auto cover offers death and total and permanent disability (TPD) cover.
Members can apply for voluntary income protection which includes access to rehabilitation. Income protection is offered through lifePLUS Protect choice cover.
LifePLUS Protect choice cover also allows members to increase or reduce their cover through a full insurance application.
LifePLUS Protect insurance claims
Any insurance claims are made by an ADF Super member directly to CSC, so you may not be involved in the process. We try to make the process as simple for our members as we can and are here to guide them every step of the way. For privacy reasons, we must have authority from our member to discuss their insurance matters with you.
If an employee is sick or injured and needs extended time off work to recover, you should encourage them to chat to us if they have applied for voluntary income protection. Members can log into member services online to check their income protection.
It’s important that your employee contacts us as early as possible about claiming income protection, even if they have an existing employment process or compensation claim underway.
ADF Super members also don’t have to use all their sick leave before making a claim for income protection. However, your agency’s enterprise agreement, employment arrangement, policies or similar may require all sick leave to be used before your employee can take unpaid sick leave. It’s important to note that any payments made by your agency to your employee, including sick leave payments, will reduce the amount of income protection payable.
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)
If an ADF Super member is suffering from a medical condition that renders them unable to continue working in any capacity, they may be eligible to make a TPD claim.
TPD claims have a waiting period of up to 6 months, which means an ADF Super member may not be eligible to make a claim until they’ve been unable to perform any work due to their sickness or injury for that amount of time.
ADF Super members also have a terminal illness benefit available through their death cover. The terminal illness benefit is equal to their death cover. ADF Super members with a life expectancy of less than 24 months should be encouraged to contact us as soon as possible so we can provide them with information about their insurance.
Unlike other CSC super funds, there is no invalidity retirement certificate for ADF Super members. This means you don’t need to engage us if you’re pursing medical retirement for an ADF Super member.
Any financial product advice provided in this website is general advice only and has been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any such general advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You may wish to consult a licensed financial advisor. You should obtain a copy of the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and consider its contents before making any decision regarding your super.
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