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C12/2006 Comparable Foreign Pensions 'Blocked Status'

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DATE OF ISSUE:  14 June 2006

Comparable Foreign Pensions 'Blocked Status'

Purpose

The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to advise you of an update to policy with regard to comparable foreign pensions (CFP), and the circumstances under which a client needs to be advised of this policy change.

Issue

Access to a CFP can be severely limited by the paying country.  For example, the paying country may restrict payment of their pensions overseas, or access may be restricted to residents or to people physically present in the paying country.  In these circumstances, the CFP may have been considered to be 'blocked'.

In 1990 the Federal Court (Rose vs Secretary, Department of Social Security) determined that a CFP should not be considered 'blocked' because a customer chooses not to live or travel to the paying country.

Policy

The policy on 'blocked' CFP's has been clarified in response to this decision.

Please see current policy in the CLIK Policy Library at P3/C7/S3 Fulfilment of Obligation to Take Reasonable Action, where a new paragraph has been added at the end titled Foreign Pension 'blocked'.

This policy position has been updated to align with the policy of the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Procedure to be followed

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) does not expect a client to travel overseas specifically to claim a CFP.

However, where a client advises DVA that they intend to travel to or reside in a country where they may have entitlement to a CFP, they must be advised that they are required to make a claim for that pension whilst in that country.  Clients who have previously applied and been rejected because of location restrictions are also required to apply whilst in the paying country.

Standard letters and fact sheets

An optional paragraph will be included in the standard letter issued to a client when they advise that they intend to travel overseas.  This paragraph must be included if the client may have entitlement to claim a foreign pension from a country to which they intend to travel.

The paragraph will advise the client that in order for them to be considered to have taken reasonable action to claim a CFP, they are required to make a claim whilst in the paying country.

All relevant fact sheets will also be updated with this paragraph.

Contact officer

For any questions regarding this instruction, contact Chris Rake on x14773 from the Income Support Policy section in National Office.

Jeanette Ricketts

National Manager

Income Support and Aged Care Policy

14 June 2006