KAPAMILYA SENIORS-ADELAIDE-AUSTRALIA HOLD FORUM ON AGE PENSION STATUS UPDATE
By Norma Hennessy
April 20, 2016
The Kapamilya Seniors Club in Adelaide sought and discussed information update on age pension portability during their 3rd Monday-of-the-month meeting at the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia building in Gilbert St., Adelaide.
Photo: KAPAMILYA SENIORS CLUB 3rd Monday of the month meeting
An active social group composed of Filipino-Australian seniors and retirees, the club was established in October 2014 and has been visibly participating in Filipino community events since its inception.
Their activities include social functions, entertainment activities such as bingo games, karaoke, excursions and other community-related events. “Our activities vary. We hold consultations with our members on their preferences,” Ramon Cruz said. The previous Monday, they were on a day cruise at Port Adelaide.
The current officers are: Ramon Cruz – President, Rose Howland – Vice President, David Finlayson – Secretary, Linda Rolemson – Treasurer and Mila Thiele – Business Manager. The group regularly meets on Mondays, three times each month. The first and third Mondays are get-together days and the second Monday is usually a fieldtrip or an out-of-town excursion.
For the club’s third Monday of April meeting, I was invited by Ramon to share with them feedback from the Department of Social Services on the position paper I presented last month regarding age pension portability. The position paper sought clarification about a security bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Australia with regards to Filipino-Australian age pensioner portability.
Below is an excerpt on the Australian age pension portability: “By way of background, the Australian social security system differs from the systems in many other countries, in that it is funded from general revenue, rather than from direct contributions by individuals and employers, as is the case in the Philippines. Instead of reflecting the level and duration of contributions into a social insurance fund, Australian income support is based on residence and need. For this reason, a person must normally be an Australian resident and in Australia to lodge a claim for pension.
Australia’s Age Pension is payable, subject to an income and assets test, to all Australian residents who have reached the qualifying age and have accrued at least ten years as an Australian resident (of which at least five years must be continuous). The qualifying age for Age Pension is currently 65, but from July 2017 will begin rising until it reaches 67 in July 2023.
Australian Age pension once granted is already payable indefinitely outside Australia. Australia is currently paying almost 600 Age Pensions in the Philippines worth over $10 million a year.
Australian age pensioners living in the Philippines, after they have been absent from Australia for 26 weeks, receive a rate of Australian pension based on the length of their Australian Working Life Residence (AWLR). The AWLR is the period a person has permanently resided in Australia between the age of 16 and Age Pension Age. All pensions paid overseas under social security agreements are also paid on the basis of AWLR, and therefore an agreement would not provide a better rate of pension.
Since 2005 negotiations for all new social security agreements have only included provisions for the payment of Age Pension. Other payments such as the Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment are no longer included.
The Philippine government and the governments of other countries have expressed interest in commencing negotiations for an agreement. The Australian government determines priorities from time to time and must balance the costs of new agreements with demands for spending in other areas. The Australian Government will consider the Philippines’ interest the next time any decisions are taken in this area.”
The information was welcomed with relief. The age pension portability gives them options in planning the duration of their visits and vacations to the Philippines.
To date, the club is preparing for their Mother’s Day Fundraising Ball on May 7, 2016 at Molfetta Club, 44 West Lakes Blvd., Alberta Park, South Australia.
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