As of next year, pensioners who spend more than six weeks in Greece face a cut in the rate of their Aged Care Pension due to supplement reductions, according to the Department of Human Services.
Hank Jongen, General Manager of the Department of Human Services told Neos Kosmos that although people who receive benefits will still be able to receive their payments whilst overseas next year, they may face a reduction. This will impact people receiving other benefits such as family assistance payments, including the Disability Support Pension.
“Other exceptions include payments made under the terms of an international social security agreement and students studying outside Australia as part of their course,” Mr Jongen told Neos Kosmos.
“If you are already overseas on 1 January 2013, the old ’13 week’ rule will still apply until you return,” and advises to check your personal circumstances with Centrelink.
“As always, I encourage anyone planning a trip outside Australia to contact us if they wish to find out how their payment may be affected. This is even more important if you’re considering moving overseas permanently.
There is some valuable information available online, or you can discuss your plans with our customer service officers.” For those who move overseas permanently, the Aged Pension may continue to be paid, except the Pension Supplement which will reduce immediately on departure. “The amount of payment you receive may change again if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks,” he said.
“Generally after 26 weeks absence the amount of payment is based on your Australian Working Life Residence. This is how long you have lived in Australia between the age of 16 and Age Pension age. If you have less than 25 years working life residence in Australia you receive a proportional rate of payment.”
He says that overseas travel may also impact on other payments. “For example, if you or your partner receive Carer Allowance and leave Australia, this payment may be effected. This can depend on respite days and whether the person you’re caring for goes with you or stays in Australia, as well as whether the trip is temporary or permanent.
“If you are holder of a Health Care Card, a Low Income Health Care Card, a Pensioner Concession Card, or a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and you leave Australia temporarily, your card will remain current for up to six weeks provided you continue to be entitled to the card. If you leave Australia permanently, your card will be cancelled on departure.”
For more information go to the Australian Government Department of Human Services website at www.humanservices.gov.au and type ‘overseas’ in the search box. Alternatively, you can phone us on 13 2468, or visit your nearest service centre.