Pension entitlement provisions and the types of pensions available vary from country to country. The Australian social security system is unique because it is NOT based on a person's financial contributions during working life.
The 2002 social security agreement with New Zealand covers:
Note: CFP for former residents of New Zealand only applies for income support payments granted after 1 July 2002.
Australia's former social security agreement with the UK does not help Australian residents (section 7(2)) to overcome the minimum contribution requirements for pensions from the UK. However, the UK exports its retirement and widows pensions to people living in Australia. People in Australia who are granted pensions from the UK are granted on the basis of their own connection with the British system. Periods of residence in Australia are not counted. However a person with contributions to the UK system can be expected to get a UK pension if the contributions were made over a period of 12 years or more.
Act Reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who...
All Australia's other agreement partners grant their pensions in, and export their pensions to Australia. All of these agreements make it easier for Australian residents to get pensions from those countries. With the exception of the agreement with the Netherlands, these other agreements make it easier to meet the minimum qualifying periods for the agreement countries' pensions for age, disability and widowhood (or survivorship). The agreements do this by allowing people to count periods of AWLR (1.1.A.340) towards the periods needed to qualify for pensions from the other country. The agreement with the Netherlands employs the same principle but only in respect of Age.
Australia's agreements include administrative arrangements that allow Centrelink to help people lodge claims for pensions from the other countries. CIS holds stocks of claim forms for the relevant agreement partners.
For widowed persons, it should be remembered that our agreement partners pay 'survivors' pensions'. Survivors' pensions can be paid to a person who has no direct affiliation with the social security scheme of the country in question.
Example: A survivor pension can be paid to a surviving partner even if the partner has never been to the other country.
Partner payments or supplements may also be paid even if the pensioner has no connection with the country, e.g. UK.
The embargo provisions in most agreements allow Australia to advise the agreement country, at the time an Australian person lodges a claim for a pension from that country, that Centrelink may have a claim on any arrears payment. This process is called embargoing the arrears. CIS is responsible for arranging the embargoes with the agreement countries.
It is the policy intention that only age pension age persons should claim their entitlements to retirement type pensions from non-agreement countries. Other persons are encouraged to claim but, at this stage will not be issued a CFP notice.
Last reviewed: 20 September 2012