Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Austria on Social Security - Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The following information is provided as a general guide only. People should contact Centrelink International Services on 131 673 for specific information relating to their circumstances.


When did the Agreement start?

The Agreement was signed on 12 August 2015 and started on 1 March 2017.


What does the Agreement do?

Under the Agreement, Australia and the Republic of Austria (Austria) 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 contributions to the Austrian insurance scheme. 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 are be exempt from making contributions for the same work under the law of the other country.


What payments does the Agreement cover?

The social security payments covered by the Agreement are as follows:

Australia

In relation to Australia, the Acts forming the social security law insofar as the law provides for, applies to, or affects the following benefits:

  • age pension;
  • disability support pension;
  • carer payment;
  • benefits payable to widowed persons; and
  • double orphan pension.

Austria

In relation to Austria:

(i) the legislation concerning pension insurance with the exception of the insurance for notaries; and

(ii) with regard to Part II of the Agreement only, the legislation concerning sickness insurance and accident insurance.

  • retirement pension
  • early retirement pension
  • disability pension
  • surviving spouse's pension
  • orphan's pension
  • additional amounts for dependent children
  • 'hiflosenzuschuss' (helpless person allowance)
  • 'pflegegeld' (personal care benefit), and
  • 'ausgleichszulage' (supplementary payment)

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 Austria to claim an Australian Age Pension. It also assists people in both countries to qualify for an Australian Age Pension by counting relevant periods in Austria as residence in Australia for the purpose of meeting the 10 year minimum residence requirement.


Where and how are claims made?

People can lodge a claim for an Australian or Austrian pension in either country. Claim forms are available from, and can be lodged with, Centrelink or an Austrian Insurance Fund.


How are Agreement 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 Austria, the Department of Human Services will pay it into your nominated Austrian bank account every 4 weeks.


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 Pension while living in the Republic of Austria, you will still need to prove your identity along with proof of previous Australian residence to the Austrian authorities.


How much pension will I get if I am paid under the Agreement?

Australian pension for a person living in Austria

The amount of Australian pension payable to someone living in Austria is affected by:

  • the duration of their Australian Working Life Residence; and
  • the person’s (and their partner’s) income and assets.

A full pension, subject to the income and assets tests, is payable to a person with 45 years 'Australian Working Life Residence' (AWLR). AWLR 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 20/45ths of a means-tested Australian Age Pension in Austria.

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 and who have at least 12 months AWLR accrued before Austrian pension age can include their Austrian insurance periods 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 Austrian pension they receive.


How do I find out more?

For more information on claim procedures and payments:

For policy information, contact the Department of Social Services.

For more information on how the Agreement will assist seconded workers, contact the Australian Taxation Office or the Main Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions.

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