However, if it is clearly a decision to be taken by a life assurance company and the retirement fund has no discretion, you will have to take your complaint to the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance.
The ombudsman’s office has jurisdiction over such complaints because it can hear complaints from lives insured, beneficiaries or those who pay premiums on a life policy, Jennifer Preiss, deputy ombudsman for long-term insurance, says.
Therefore you should say loudly and clearly to your retirement fund that you want to apply for a disability benefit, and then make sure you submit all the relevant forms and medical reports, she says.
Do not simply stay away from work and give your employer vague reasons for your absence.
But once your lump sum has been spent and you are still unable to work, you may realise that a monthly income to support you until retirement and then a retirement benefit would have been a better bet.
However, it may then be difficult to claim a disability benefit because the withdrawal benefit may have to be repaid, De la Rey says.
But the rulings establish that an employer has an important duty to inform the fund of a member’s disability, he says.