The Meeting Place

Can I claim both pensions?

I am a 67 year old male and qualified by age for the Australian pension. I was born and worked in Australia up until the 1990's when I moved to the USA for 14 years during which time I earned enough credits to qualify for US Social Security. I returned to Australia more than 15 years ago and worked here for another 10 years before retiring. I have no Superannuation. I applied for and am receiving US Social Security payments every month and the US IRS takes out 33% tax.

My question is - Does the US Social Security payment count as income in the Australian Aged Pension Income Test or is it offset (and subtracted) from any Australian Aged Pension I might qualify for?

8 comments

I do not know the answer.

What I do "feel" is that, "If you have earned something, then you should be entitled to keep it".

But then, I am not a Liberal voter - they believe retiree's drawing a pension, should remain poor.

 

My mother, who's just had her 91st birthday, receives a part UK pension and this is taken into account when calculating her AU pension. She does not get a full AU pension because of her income from the UK pension.

 

I investigated this for similar reasons. When I come of age I will be entitled to a small pension from UK where I worked for ten years. If I am by then getting an Aussie pension (unlikely as it is so severely means tested) the Aussies will count my UK pension as income. UK pension doesnt means test (don't know about US) so I just get it regardless.

Time for Aus to get rid of means testing, but as Realist says, it wont happen under Libs. 

It won't happen, you are right. But it was Labor who brought it in so both parties are in on it. You can vote what you like you will never change that. My mate went from here to live in the USA and gets a monthly pension from here. In addition he also gets an air force pension from US Veterans' Affairs. The US does not inform Australia on these matters so he gets a lot more than if he would have decided to retire here.

I get a small part pension from Europe and it is counted by C/L as income which is fair enough. Yes, most countries will just tax you on both pensions but there is no means test. Possibly fairer all round but we are stuck with the system unless we go and live somewhere else.

Means testing has never been abolished by Labor whenever they were in power, so your point is what exactly?

Neither party is ever going to abolish it.  It's extremely unfair, and I hate it just as much as everyone else, but we just have to live with it.  Nothing is going to change.

I didn't know it was Labor who brought it in so I stand corrected. Guess we are stuck with it then!!

My career was in making systems simpler and easier/safer. I still want to do that to everything that irritates me. I need to get over that!

Bundabergian please take note. Mariner and others, Labor did not introduce the means test on pensions, it was part of the original legislation when the old age pension was legislated in 1908. The party in power was the Protectionist Party, which was an anti-Labour Party, and is likely to have been a fore-runner of the modern day Liberal and National Parties.

For your information the means test in 1909 was annual income less than £52 per annum (equivalent to $7466 today) and assets less than £375 (equivalent to $53800 today). In 1912 the family home was exempted from the means test.

More history, the Protectionist Party fell to Labour in November 1908 and in June 1909 Labour fell to the newly formed Commonwealth Liberal Party. The Commonwealth granting of old age pensions was permitted under S51 of the Constitution which confers on the Federal Government  authorisation to legislate for Social Security.  Therefore it may be safe to assume that the principle of granting old age pensions was bi-partisan and long established even before Federation.

You may find some information here helpful from the Australian Department of Social Services. There are also details of who to contact.

Social Security Agreement between Australia and the United States of America (USA) - Frequently Asked Questions

https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/international/international-social-security-agreements/current-international-social-security-agreements/australia-and-the-united-states-of-america-usa-frequently-asked-questions

Good luck.

Do what politicions do if you can get away do it,  if you have to work it to suit you do it politicions do 

I get a very small UK pension from when I had a working holiday there back in the 1960's.  Amounts to about $26 a fortnight, but is income so is counted for my Age Pension.  Not only that, they watch it carefully and readjust the exchange rate every month so I don't get a dollar more than necessary if exchange rates change in my favour.

  I receive a part british pension, it is classed as 'other income', taxed at 50%. No super tax lurk. 

I too receive a part British pension, which is classed as other income.  We, as pensioners are allowed to earn an amount per fortnight (currently just under $160) before our Australian pension is affected.  If our income is more than the allowed amount, then 50 cents in the dollar is deducted from the extra.  It is not a tax.  C/L take the rate of exchange on a designated day near the beginning of the month (I think maybe the 5th?) and what we are said to receive is based on that day's exchange rate - no matter what it actually is when we are paid.  It is a fairly straightforward system, and I have never had any problem with it.

  I receive a part british pension, it is classed as 'other income', taxed at 50%. No super tax lurk. 

8 comments