Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult times in your life. If you need to make a death claim, we’ll make sure the process is as smooth as possible. We’ll provide you with a dedicated case manager to help guide you through the entire process. They’ll help you complete the forms and give you tips on how to get hold of any supporting documents you may need.
How to make a death claim
1. Complete and submit the online Death claim notification to start the process. You can also call us on 1300 650 873.
To start the claim process, we’ll need the member’s details such as:
- first name, middle name, last name
- membership number
- account number
- date of birth and death.
We’ll ask you some questions so we can send you a claim pack and information.
You’ll be given a dedicated case manager to be your contact to help you with your claim.
2. Complete your claim pack. This contains all the information we need to process your claim. Send your completed claim application to us.
3. We’ll review your claim. If the member has insurance, we’ll lodge the claim with the insurer. If we need more information to process your claim, your case manager will let you know.
4. If the claim for death insurance is approved, we’ll deposit the money into the member’s Aware Super account.
5. We’ll review all received claim information. This may include information from several claiming parties. Who the benefit is paid to will depend on whether the member nominated a valid beneficiary.
Valid binding beneficiary nomination or a reversionary beneficiary
We’re generally required by law to pay the nominated beneficiary.
We’ll decide who should receive the benefit based on super law, fund rules and the claim information we’ve received.
6. Where there are several potential beneficiaries and depending on the circumstances, we’ll let them know how we propose to pay the death benefit. Potential beneficiaries then have 28 days to lodge an objection if they disagree.
If an objection is received, the benefit cannot be paid until it’s resolved.
7. Where there is no objection, payment is made to the beneficiary/s. The death benefit payable will consist of the member’s account balance and any insured amount (if applicable).
Find out more on how to claim a death benefit (PDF, 684kB)
Who can receive a death benefit?
When a member dies, generally a super death benefit can only be paid to their dependants and/or their legal personal representative. This is usually the executor or administrator of their estate.
If we can’t locate a legal personal representative or a dependant, only then can we consider paying the benefit to another person.
Under superannuation law, a dependant can be:
- a spouse or de facto spouse
- a child, including a stepchild, adopted child, or the child of a spouse
- a financial dependant, or
- a person with whom the member was in an interdependency relationship with.
Adult children can receive a member’s death benefit. Minor children and financially dependent children will be considered first.
Tax on death benefits
A lump sum benefit paid to a dependant for tax purposes is generally tax free.
How we define a dependant for tax purposes is different to the definition that we use when deciding where to pay a death benefit. A dependant for tax purposes includes:
- a spouse, former spouse or a de facto spouse
- children under age 18
- a person with whom the member had an interdependency relationship, and
- any other person who was financially dependent on the member.
If we pay the legal personal representative, we don’t deduct tax. The legal personal representative is then responsible for managing the estate’s tax affairs.
If you’re not a dependant for tax purposes, it’s very likely you will have to pay tax on the benefit. Exactly how much will depend on factors like what kinds of contributions were made into the account and whether or not the super fund deducted tax from contributions and earnings.
Case study: Tax on death cover
Alec has $100,000 in his super balance and death cover of $750,000. He has a total benefit of $850,000 payable in the event of his death. The binding death benefit nomination on his account tells us to pay 100% of his benefit to his adult child, Ruth. As Alec’s child, Ruth is considered a dependant under super law and fund rules.
Alec passes away unexpectedly. As there was a valid binding nomination on his account, Ruth receives Alec’s total death benefit. Ruth was not financially dependent on her father at the time of his death, so she is not considered a dependant for tax purposes. Ruth will have to pay tax on the benefit.