GN 01743.020 Australian Social Security Benefits – Eligibility Requirements
The Social Security program pays flat-rate retirement, survivor and disability benefits to qualified individuals. Benefits are subject to income and assets tests. In the case of a married couple, the income and assets of both are considered.
B. Policy – Worker
1. Retirement Benefits
Retirement benefits (referred to as Age Pension in Australia) are payable to men at age 65 and to women at age 62 as of 2002. The retirement age for women is being increased by 6 months every 2 years until it reaches age 65 in 2013. Both men and women must have at least 10 years residence in Australia between age 16 and retirement age, including a continuous period of at least 5 years.
2. Disability Benefits
Disability benefits are payable if the worker is permanently blind or has a physical or mental impairment that will prevent work or training and rehabilitation for at least 2 years. There is no minimum residence requirement if the disability occurs while the worker is a permanent resident of Australia. If the disability occurs while the worker does not reside in Australia, he or she must have resided in Australia for at least 10 years, including a continuous period of at least 5 years.
C. Policy – Dependents of retired or disabled workers
1. Married Spouse
There is no provision for married spouses.
2. Divorced Spouse
A parenting payment can be paid to a divorced spouse who is caring for at least one dependent child under age 16. There is no minimum residence requirement if the couple was residing in Australia on the date of divorce. Otherwise, the couple must have been residents of Australia for at least 2 years.
There is no specific benefit for children. However, a supplement to the retirement or disability benefit may be payable if there are dependent children under age 16.
4. Care Provider
A “carer” payment is payable to a person who provides constant care at home for a retirement or disability beneficiary.
D. Policy – Survivor benefits
1. Widow or Widower
A parenting payment is payable to a widow(er), including a divorced widow(er), who is caring for a dependent child of the deceased under age 16. There is no minimum residence requirement if the couple was residing in Australia on the date of death. Otherwise, the widow(er) must have been a resident of Australia at the time of death and have resided in Australia for at least 2 years.
There is no specific benefit for children. However, a supplement is payable to a person receiving a parenting payment for children under the age of 16.
3. Death Benefit
A one-time bereavement payment equal to 14 times the difference between a single and couples pension is payable to the surviving partner of a pensioner couple. A bereavement allowance equal to the retirement benefit rate for a single person is payable for 14 weeks to a surviving partner not entitled to a pension.
Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Australian benefits. Refer those individuals who want official information about Australian benefits to: Centrelink International Services
GPO Box 273
Hobart, Tasmania, 7001
Individuals who live in the United States can call Centrelink toll free at 1-866-343-3086. Centrelink can also be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org