Social Security Agreement with between Australia and the Slovak Republic - Frequently Asked Questions
Note: The following information is provided as a guide only. People should contact Centrelink International Services on 131 673 for specific information relating to their circumstances.
- When was the Agreement signed?
- When did the Agreement start?
- What does the Agreement do?
- What benefits are covered by the Agreement?
- What are the most important things to know about Australia’s social security system?
- Where and how can people lodge claims?
- Do I need to claim a pension from the Slovak Republic?
- What documents do I need to make a claim?
- How much pension will I get if I am paid under the Agreement?
- How are pensions and benefits paid?
- How do I find out more?
When was the Agreement signed?
The Agreement was signed on 21 September 2010.
When did the Agreement start?
The Agreement started on 1 January 2012.
What does the Agreement do?
Under the Agreement, Australia and the Slovak Republic will share responsibility for pensions to people who would not otherwise be entitled because they do not have enough residence in Australia or sufficient periods of coverage in the Slovak Republic. It also helps people who could not otherwise claim because they are living abroad.
The Agreement also reduces costs for businesses operating in both countries through provisions regulating compulsory contributions for seconded workers. Under the Agreement, seconded employees and/or their employer will generally only be subject to the legislation of their home country and would be exempt from making contributions for the same work under the law of the other country.
What benefits are covered by the Agreement?
For Australia, the Agreement covers Age Pension. For the Slovak Republic, the Agreement covers age, invalidity and survivors’ benefits.
What are the most important things to know about Australia’s social security system?
All claimants for Australian Age Pension need to meet minimum age and residence criteria under Australia’s social security laws. Australian pensions are also means tested – that is, an income test and an assets test is applied, and whichever results in the lower rate of pension is used for assessment purposes. The Department of Human Services website has information about the current income and assets limits.
The Agreement enables former Australian residents living in the Slovak Republic to claim Australian Age Pension. It also assists people in both countries to qualify for Australian Age Pension by counting relevant periods in the Slovak Republic as residence in Australia for the purpose of meeting the 10 year minimum residence requirement.
Where and how can people lodge claims?
People can lodge a claim for an Australian or Slovak pension in either country. Claim forms are available from, and can be lodged with, Centrelink or the Slovak Social Insurance Agency.
Do I need to claim a pension from the Slovak Republic?
If you are receiving an Australian pension and may also be entitled to a foreign pension, Australian social security law requires that you take reasonable action to apply for it. This is because the Australian pension system is not based on contributions but is funded from general taxation revenue and the Government believes that all pensioners should maximise their private income before calling on taxpayer funded support.
What documents do I need to make a claim?
When you claim an Australian pension you need to complete a claim form and provide documents to prove your identity and periods of residence in Australia.
If you claim an Australian Age Pension while living in the Slovak Republic, you will still need to prove your identity along with proof of previous Australian residence to the Slovak authorities.
How much pension will I get if I am paid under the Agreement?
Australian pension for a person not living in Australia
The amount of Australian pension payable to someone living outside Australia is affected by:
- the duration of their Australian Working Life Residence; and
- the person’s (and their partner’s) income and assets.
For claims made since 1 July 2014, a full pension, subject to the income and assets tests, is payable to a person with 35 years 'Australian Working Life Residence'. (This is the period of Australian residence between the age of 16 and Age Pension age). For example, a person who has lived in Australia from age 30 to age 50 has 20 years of Australian Working Life Residence and may, after reaching pension age, be paid 20/35ths (57%) of a means-tested Australian Age Pension in the Slovak Republic. Periods as a temporary resident are not counted.
Australian pension for a person living in Australia
Generally to qualify for Australian Age Pension a claimant must have lived in Australia for at least 10 years. People who have lived in Australia for less than 10 years can include their Slovak periods of insurance to help meet this requirement. During this time (until a person has ten years residence in Australia) they will be paid the normal income and asset tested pension rate less the amount of any Slovak pension they receive.
How are pensions and benefits paid?
If you get an Australian pension in Australia, the Department of Human Services will pay it directly into your bank account every 2 weeks.
If you get an Australian pension and you reside permanently in the Slovak Republic, the Department of Human Services will pay it into your nominated Slovak bank account every 4 weeks. Payments to customers in the Slovak Republic are in Euros.
How do I find out more?
For more information on claim procedures and payments:
- Contact Centrelink International Services.
- Visit your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
- Department of Human Services Publications - Australia's International Social Security Agreements Factsheets
For policy information, contact the Department of Social Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information on how the Agreement will assist seconded workers, contact the Australian Taxation Office.