Invalidity retirement

Invalidity retirement benefits are payable for total and permanent incapacity if you retire from the workforce because a permanent medical condition is likely to stop you working again. 

Learn more in the CSS Product Disclosure Statement.

Am I entitled to full benefit cover?

The first question to ask is ‘Did I receive a Benefit Classification Certificate?’

Known as a BCC, this certificate lists any pre-existing medical condition that may affect your ability to work until retirement. If this is the case in your situation, you would have received a BCC following your medical examination when you first joined CSS, or when you re-entered CSS if you did not already have 20 years contributory service.

You or your dependants may not be eligible to receive full invalidity or death benefits if a claim is related to a condition on your BCC. But once you reach 20 years of CSS contributory membership, your BCC no longer applies.

If you have not yet reached 20 years of contributory membership, a BCC can be issued retrospectively; your benefit is then calculated according to the time you have contributed.

Can my BCC be revoked?

You can ask Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (trustee of CSS) to consider revoking or reconsider the decision to issue the BCC; you must, however, provide medical proof to that you are in good health. Please contact us to discuss this matter.

Did I disclose all information required?

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation considers all invalidity retirement applications; considerations taken into account to approve or reject applications are:

  • Is the cause related to a condition on a BCC?
  • Did the applicant fail to disclosure any information?
  • Did the applicant provide false or misleading information about a condition that led to this application?

What are my invalidity benefit choices?

Generally, if you did not receive a BCC, the following invalidity benefit options are available:

These options are also available to CSS deferred benefit members.

Any accrued surcharge debt is recovered when your CSS benefit is paid.

What is the invalidity retirement application process?

Before you apply, you must be examined by an approved medical practitioner. Your personnel section can arrange your appointment and provide the necessary form. All relevant documents (including any from specialists or your GP) are then sent to an independent panel of experts for assessment. Cases are generally decided within three to four weeks; your application will be treated as a priority if you are terminally ill.

Finally, your employer must be notified. You cannot formally retire until your employer receives a certificate from Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (trustee of CSS) stating you are entitled to invalidity retirement benefits. 

Pre-assessment payments

These are payments you receive while waiting for your CSS invalidity retirement benefit application to be decided, in order to maintain your income. You may be entitled to pre-assessment payments if you:

  • are not receiving workers’ compensation and
  • have been off work for 28 days or more.

Pre-assessment payments will be approved as soon as an invalidity retirement application is received if it includes a recommendation from an approved medical practitioner that your condition means it is likely you are, or will become, unable to work. These payments will not affect any final invalidity benefit you may receive. But if payment periods overlap, the overpaid pre-assessment payments will be recovered.

What is a partial invalidity pension?

It is a form of income maintenance, paid when your salary is permanently reduced because of a medical condition.

When am I not eligible for a partial invalidity pension?

  • If you are already 65 years or over before you want to apply for partial invalidity pension
  • If you have less than eight years contributory membership and the condition causing your salary reduction is related to a condition listed in a medical certification known as a ‘Benefit Classification Certificate’ (BCC)
  • If your medical condition has been caused by wilful action on your part with a view to getting an invalidity pension
  • If you cease to be a CSS member
  • If you receive income maintenance through workers’ compensation.

Must I undertake reassessments or reviews?

If you are an invalidity pensioner, you will be subject to earnings reviews until age 65 if you become well enough to return to work. It is important that you contact CSS before engaging in any employment as some types of employment may result in the loss of your invalidity pension. It is important you comply with any future requests for reviews of your situation. If you do not, your CSS invalidity pension may be suspended.

Will my invalidity pension be adjusted over time?

Yes, your invalidity pension may be adjusted for two main reasons:

  1. Cost of living changes due Consumer Price Index movements
  2. You earn income above a certain level – you are obliged to provide to Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (trustee of CSS) all your income details while you receive CSS invalidity benefits such as an invalidity pension.

You will lose your invalidity pension if you are re-employed by the Australian Government or an Australian Government authority if you take up a statutory office.

Retrospective invalidity

For guidelines about the circumstances in which an application is likely to be approved or rejected, see the CSS retrospective invalidity guidelines [PDF 360 KB].