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11.4.1 Overview of Portability
What is Portability
“Portability” is the term used to refer to the entitlement of a person to continue to receive an Australian pension, associated supplements and allowances while overseas.
What pensions are portable
Both service pension and income support supplement are portable, except in certain circumstances where a person claims such a pension during a short-term period of residency in Australia.
Clean energy advance payments may also be impacted by a period of absence greater than 6 weeks.
Portability of supplements and allowances
Rent assistance, remote area allowance, pension supplement, veterans supplement and energy supplement can continue to be paid during short absences from Australia but this is subject to specific requirements.
Portability only an issue after grant.
Portability is only an issue once service pension or income support supplement is granted. Except in the case of transfers between portable pensions, a person must be an Australian resident and in Australia at the time of claim for pension to be granted.
Transfers between portable pensions
A person who is overseas and is receiving a portable pension from either DVA or Centrelink can in certain circumstances transfer to another portable pension without need to be an Australian resident and in Australia at the time of claiming the new pension.
Administration of Payment to Pensioners Overseas
If a pensioner moves overseas to reside permanently, their pension will be administered by the Tasmanian State Office. In short term absences from Australia, the administration of pension will continue in the home state.
The pension supplement is added to a person's maximum basic rate. The pension supplement is calculated as a 'combined couple' rate. The 'not a member of a couple' rate is 66.33% of the 'combined couple' rate. The member of a couple rate is 50% of the combined couple rate. From 1 July 2010, the minimum pension supplement amount will be able to be claimed on a quarterly basis rather than on a fortnightly basis.
The veterans supplement was introduced on 20 September 2009 as part of the Government's Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform package. It is a fortnightly payment that replaces pharmaceutical allowance and/or telephone allowance for compensation recipients who are not in receipt of an income support supplement. There are two rates, the veterans supplement low rate and the veterans supplement high rate. The low rate replaces one of the allowances and the high rate replaces both. The low rate is indexed every January to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The high rate is always twice the amount of the low rate.
The energy supplement is an ongoing, regular payment designed to help recipients meet the cost of living impact of the carbon price.
Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.
An Australian resident is a person who:
- resides in Australia; and
- is one of the following:
- an Australian citizen;
- the holder of a permanent visa;
- the holder of a special category visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia;
- the holder of a special purpose visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia.