YOURLifeChoices member Catherine has been living and working overseas, but is now preparing to return to Australia. She is keen to find out to what benefits she may be entitled.
I have been working full time in the Middle East for the last five years and age restrictions are possibly going to prevent me from working here any longer. I am having considerable difficulty with this issue world wide with the exception of course of places that have anti-discrimination legislation in place.
I am coming home on holidays, or maybe for good, next week and I am wondering if you could find out for me, or you have the answer in your vast experience of dealing with these problems, if there is a period when I would not be eligible for benefits if I cannot find a new position. I am a head teacher who will be 63 years of age in December this year and I would love to work for at least another three years but this may not be possible.
A. Provided by the Department of Human Services
Based upon a calculation of Catherine’s year of birth from details in her email, it appears that her Australian Age Pension age is currently 65.
Catherine will need to satisfy residence requirements. An Australian resident is a person residing in Australia and is an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent resident visa, or a protected special category visa holder. A person is considered as residing in Australia if they are living in Australia on a permanent basis, that is, they intend to make Australia their home.
Catherine should contact Human Services as soon as possible upon her return to Australia. If she has already returned to Australia, she can even register for online services and register an intent to claim (this includes payments available to jobseekers). Any backdating of entitlement will be based upon her registered date contact. At that time the most appropriate benefit for Catherine will be discussed and she will then be asked to test her eligibility by making a formal claim. For most payments there is a waiting period. There are also exclusion periods that may apply in certain circumstances, such as the liquid Asset waiting period, Income Maintenance period, ordinary waiting period (usually at least one week commencing from the customer's provisional commencement date) or even a compensation waiting period.
Customers claiming Newstart who are new residents are required to have been in Australia, as an Australian resident for a period of at least 104 weeks before Newstart is payable. A returning resident may be assessed as already having served this 'newly arrived resident's waiting period', but this will be determined as a part of the claim process. Currently, if you are single and have no dependent children your maximum fortnightly payment is $489.70. If you are single and aged 60 or over, after nine continuous months on payment your maximum fortnightly payment is $529.80.
To be able to assist further, Catherine will need to provide more information. This can be done by contacting Human Services by phone (within Australia contact employment services on 132850) or if outside of Australia, she can phone (+61 3) 62223455. Please be aware call charges will apply if phoning from outside of Australia and calls from mobile phones may be charged at a higher rate.
She may also like to view information on the Human Services website.
Finally, before she spends or invests any severance pay, holiday pay or other lump sums, we recommend that she discuss her circumstances with a financial advisor or one of Human Services financial information service officers. This will assist her in making informed decisions and how they may affect her qualification or payability for an Australian benefit.
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