The Agreement commenced on 1 October 2008.
How does the Agreement help people?People will be able to move between Australia and Greece knowing that their pension rights are recognised in both countries.
Those who worked in Greece or resided in Australia, even if only for 12 months, may be eligible for a new pension from either or both countries by combining periods of working life residence in Australia with periods of insurance in Greece.
Who must claim?If you are receiving an Australian Age Pension and may be entitled to a Greek old age pension, Australian law requires that you take action to apply for a Greek old age pension.
What benefits are covered by the Agreement?The Agreement covers the Australian Age Pension and Greek old age pension. Once the Agreement starts, people of Age Pension age who qualify under the Agreement, will be able to claim an Age Pension in either country and pensioners can continue to receive their pension indefinitely as long as they remain qualified.
Health benefits are not included in the scope of the Agreement.
How will the Australian pension be worked out for Greek residents?Under the Agreement all Australian residents who return to live permanently in Greece after the Agreement starts can claim a means-tested Australian pension based on their working life residence in Australia (the period between age 16 and Age Pension age) over a denominator of 25 years. For example, a person who lived in Australia since the age of 40, and returned to Greece at age 55, may receive 15/25 of a means-tested Australian Age Pension after reaching Age Pension age.
A person who returned to live permanently in Greece before the Agreement started can claim an Australian Age Pension at age pension age based on their working life residence in Australia over a denominator of 44 years.
What about income and assets?The Australian Age pension is subject to an income and assets test. Generally all income and assets, whether in Australia or overseas, are taken into account when calculating Australian pensions. All pension claimants need to declare details of their income and assets to Centrelink.
Under the Agreement Centrelink and the Greek authorities will assist each other with claims and will exchange information to help people receive their correct entitlement.
The Superannuation GuaranteeThe Agreement also includes provisions to reduce costs for businesses operating in both countries. It will eliminate the need for compulsory contributions to be paid into both countries' systems in respect of the same work when employees are sent to work temporarily in the other country. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will administer these provisions and enquiries should be directed to the ATO on 13 1020.
How do I claim?From 1 October 2008, claim forms will be available from and may be lodged with Centrelink or your Greek pension fund. It is important that claims are lodged promptly as the Australian Age Pension and some Greek old age pension payments cannot be backdated. In October, Centrelink will send claim forms for the Greek old age pension to Australian pensioners who may be entitled.
More information:More information can be obtained by phoning Centrelink International Services, in Australia between 0800 and 1700 hours Australian Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday on:
13 1673 (from within Australia)
0080 0611 26209 (international free call from Greece)
+61 3 6222 3455 (from elsewhere outside Australia - reverse charge by asking the local telephone operator)