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Required Periods of Residency

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Last amended: 31 July 2013

Overview

For a person to claim a service pension or ISS, they must have resided in Australia for a certain period of time. Below are details of how long a person must reside in Australia.     

Australian Residents

    

Australian residents residing in Australia are not required to meet any minimum residency period, however they must be in Australia:

  • on the day on which the claim is lodged.

Note: - Persons automatically granted ISS, do not actually lodge a formal claim and therefore have no requirement for a minimum period of residency.     

Person not eligible at the time of claim

    

For persons who do not meet the eligibility requirements for service pension at the time of lodging a claim, they must:

  • remain in Australia until the earliest date from which the pension could be authorised to be paid (not applicable to ISS claimants).  If the person ceases to be an Australian resident before the earliest date from which the pension could be authorised to be paid, the person is not eligible for service pension.     
Commonwealth Veterans, Allied Veterans and Allied Mariners

For service pension purposes only, Commonwealth veterans, Allied veterans and Allied mariners, in addition to the residency requirement for Australian residents, must also demonstrate that they have, at any time, been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least ten years.     

Exemption to the ten year residency rules

    

VEA ?

Additional eligibility criteria does not apply in certain circumstances

Section 37(3A) VEA

Section 37(5) VEA

Section 5C(4) VEA

Schedule 2A VEA

VEA ? (go back)

Commonwealth veterans, Allied veterans and Allied mariners are exempted from the ten year continuous residency period in the following circumstances:

  • if the veteran became permanently incapacitated for work while the veteran was an Australian resident, and
  • if the veteran's permanent incapacity for work was not brought about with a view to obtaining a service pension or a social security pension, and
  • if the veteran does not have an enforceable claim against any person for adequate compensation in respect of the permanent incapacity, or
  • if the person is a refugee or former refugee as defined under sub-sections 5C(4) and 5C(5) of the VEA

Note: The Global Special Humanitarian Visa (class XB) has replaced the Refugee and Humanitarian (Migrant) (class BA) visa identified in Schedule 2A of the VEA. The Global Special Humanitarian Visa serves exactly the same purpose of providing protection for people who are unable to live safely in their country of origin, and is equivalent to the class BA visa. Holders of this visa therefore satisfy the definition of refugee under the VEA

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.

 

 

Australia is defined in the Acts Interpretations Act 1901 and includes the following territories and Islands:

  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Subsection 5Q(1) of the VEA provides specifically that the definition of Australia includes the external territories for many VEA purposes including Part III, IIIAB, some parts of Part IIIB, Parts IIID, VIIA, VIIC and sections 52ZO, 58A, and 132.  Norfolk Island] is currently the only external territory of Australia. For the above VEA sections, which cover service pension, [glossary:income support supplement:118], pension bonus, pension loans scheme, Veterans supplement, pension supplement and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card purposes it is considered to be part of Australia. The test of residing in Australia does not by itself satisfy the full definition of Australian Resident, as residency also requires Australian citizenship or the holding of a specified visa.

Papua New Guinea and Nauru have both previously been external territories of Australia.  Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island, formerly regarded as separate islands, are now part of mainland NSW and Tasmania respectively.

 

 

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.

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.