Structured Settlement Contributions – What Are They And Why Should You Care?

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Disasters, be they natural or man-made, can happen to anyone. It could be a car accident, a tree crashing through the roof, or a bushfire hitting your residence. In any case, an event that causes significant harm or impact that affects someone’s everyday life in an adverse way is never pleasant.

Thankfully, as a society, there are laws that provide compensation to people who experience these accidents as a result of someone else’s actions and are significantly impacted. If someone were to be (potentially) disabled for life due to such an incident, there may be a substantial compensation payout.

The idea of this compensation is not only to compensate for economic loss but to also provide a capital amount for the person’s living costs for the rest of their lives. Often that compensation will run to millions of dollars. Sounds like a lot, right?

If you receive compensation for becoming totally and permanently disabled, investing this lump sum should make it last far longer. This action will require careful planning and professional advice. Consulting with a professional on this financial decision may be in your best interest.

One effective strategy that can be used here is to make what is known as a Structured Settlement Contribution to superannuation.  You can then use your superannuation to pay you a pension.  If done correctly, all the money that your investment earns in super should be tax-free and all of the money that you draw out of super should also be tax-free. Removing tax from the equation when it comes to the money that you can draw out of your super will have a massive impact on your ability to have that money last your lifetime.

However, you need to make sure you comply with all of the rules around making a structured settlement superannuation contribution. These rules include:

  1. You will usually have to be under 67 at the time of making the contribution
  2. The contribution needs to be made within 90 days of getting the money
  3. Two doctors need to certify that you are totally and permanently disabled
  4. The payment must be compensation for personal injury where someone else was at fault or for workers compensation
  5. You must notify your super fund that it is a structured settlement contribution

The contribution will also have no impact on your pension transfer balance limit.  This means that if you make a structured settlement contribution of $2 million then you will now be able to transfer $3.7 million into a pension instead of the usual $1.7 million.

The payments are usually received after a lengthy legal process and it is probably not something that will be top of mind for the 90 days following receipt of the funds but the decision to contribute the amount to superannuation can have a lasting positive impact on your after tax income.

Consulting with a registered professional about your options regarding contributions, withdrawals and general options can give a better understanding of what you might be in a position to do.