If you are a pensioner holidaying in Greece for more than six weeks you will lose your one-off Pension Supplement until you return to Australia.
However you will continue to receive a pension no matter how long you stay overseas.
Maria Vamvakinou, the Member for Calwell, rose during Tuesday’s Question Time to ask Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “Can the Prime Minister confirm how many pensioners will be negatively impacted by his legislation to cut the pension supplement?”
Paul Fletcher MP, the Minister for Social Security, took the question on behalf of the PM, and said that “under this Government aged pensions have increased significantly”.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Vamvakinou called for “certainty” and went on to say that “pensioners are confused about the proposed pension changes that have been on the government’s agenda since 2014”.
Senator Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services, responding to questions from Neos Kosmos said that, “the Pension Supplement is a single payment combining the value of Telephone Allowance, Utilities Allowance, Pharmaceutical Allowance and the GST Supplement.”
The Minister emphasised that, “the Age Pension will continue to be available at the full rate to those eligible indefinitely while they travel or live overseas”.
The Minister went on to say that the Pension Supplement is “designed to provide assistance with the costs of living in Australia” and the Government had to ensure that “supplements go to people for the purpose they were intended”.
Ruston added that when an “Age Pensioner who has been overseas, for more than six weeks, returns to Australia, the Pension Supplement will be automatically reinstated”.
Vamvakinou said that for immigrants who are now elderly, “travelling overseas is a big deal and anxiety is palpable among people in my electorate”.
The division of Calwell in Melbourne’s north-west is one of the most diverse electorates in Australia and includes both post-war Greek, Italian and former Yugoslavian migrants, as well later arrivals from South East and South Asia, as well as the Middle East.