The Department of Social Services is responsible for the formulation of policy associated with the provision of Australian income support payments for newly arrived residents and income support payments for Australians overseas, including:
Portability of Australian Income Support Payments
Portability refers to the continuation of Australian income support payments during a recipient's overseas absence. This policy acknowledges that travel is an integral part of modern living.
Two new portability measures were announced in the 2015-16 Budget.
Portability of Family Tax Benefit
From 1 January 2016, subject to the passage of legislation, the period a person can normally be paid and continue to receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A outside Australia will be limited to six weeks. This is a reduction from 56 weeks. FTB recipients will still be able to take multiple overseas trips and retain FTB but each trip must be less than six weeks duration.
This measure will align the portability rules for FTB Part A with those of FTB Part B and most income support payments.
Tightening proportionality requirements
From 1 January 2017, subject to the passage of legislation, certain pensions will be adjusted according to the pensioner’s Australian Working Life Residence (AWLR) when they have been travelling or living outside Australia after six weeks, instead of 26 weeks.
AWLR is the period a person has resided in Australia, as a permanent resident, between the age of 16 and Age Pension age.
Social Security Payments - Residence Criteria
These criteria define Australian residence for the purposes of qualifying for income support or social security payments.
Assurance of Support
An Assurance of Support is given for migrants who enter Australia under certain visa types. It is a commitment by an Australian resident to repay certain Australian social security payments.
Comparable Foreign Payments
A Comparable Foreign Payment (CFP) is any payment from a foreign country that is paid periodically to an Australian pensioner to provide income because of retirement, disability, widowhood, or survivorship.