Social Security Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Serbia – Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The following information is provided as a guide only.

When did the Agreement start?

The Agreement was signed on 20 January 2023 and commenced on 1 February 2024.

What does the Agreement do?

The Agreement assists people who have moved between Australia and Serbia to claim and qualify for benefits from both countries that they may not otherwise be able to access.

Under the Agreement, individuals may be eligible for a benefit from both countries if they meet certain criteria and have resided in Australia and/or made insurance contributions in Serbia.

  • People in either country are able to combine periods of residence in Australia with periods of insurance contributions in Serbia to meet minimum residence or contribution requirements for a pension. This enables them to access these benefits earlier than they would otherwise be able to. For example, people can add periods of Serbian insurance contributions to their periods of Australia residence in order to meet the minimum 10-year residence requirement for the Australian Age Pension.
  • People can also lodge a claim for a pension from either country, regardless of whether they are residing in Australia or Serbia at the time of claim. This means former Australian residents living in Serbia do not need to return to Australia to live if they wish to claim the Australian Age Pension.

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 are generally only subject to the legislation of their home country and are exempt from making contributions for the same work under the law of the other country. In Australia, this applies to compulsory contributions under the Superannuation Guarantee. This element of the Agreement is the responsibility of Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office.

What benefits are covered by the Agreement?

For Australia, the Agreement covers Age Pension. For the Republic of Serbia, the Agreement covers both pension and disability insurance.

Where and how can I make a claim for a benefit under the Agreement?

People can lodge a claim for an Australian or Serbian benefit in either country. Claim forms are available from, and can be lodged with, Services Australia or the Serbian Republic Fund for Pension and Disability Insurance.

What are the most important things to know about Australia’s Age Pension?

All claimants for the Australian Age Pension need to meet minimum age and residence requirements under Australia’s social security laws.

The Age Pension is 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 Services Australia website has information about the Age Pension, including the minimum age and residence requirements, current income and assets limits.

Do I need to claim a pension from Serbia?

If you are claiming or 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. If you do not, your claim may be rejected or your pension ceased. This is because the Australian social security system is funded from general taxation revenue and targeted to those most in need through means testing. It is appropriate that pensioners maximise their private income from available sources before calling on taxpayer-funded support.

If you may be eligible for a pension from Serbia, for example, because you have previously worked and made contributions in Serbia, you may be required to make a claim. Services Australia can assist you with this.

What documents do I need to make a claim?

When you claim the Australian Age Pension you need to complete a claim form and provide documents to prove your identity and periods of residence in Australia.

If you claim the Australian Age Pension while living in Serbia, you will still need to prove your identity along with proof of previous Australian residence to the Serbian authorities.

Proof of Identity

Some of the acceptable documents to prove your identity are:

  • birth certificate or extract
  • current Australian passport
  • certificate of Australian citizenship

Proof of Australian Residence

Helpful documents that can assist you to do this include:

  • Australian or overseas passport that shows your date of arrival in Australia
  • Entry visa
  • Australian citizenship papers
  • employment and/or tax records, including group certificates issued by Australian employers.

Note: The above are only a few of the documents that can be used to prove your identity and your Australian residence. Services Australia is able to provide more information on other acceptable documents to prove your identity and Australian residence.

Note: Claimants for the Australian Age Pension who receive a Serbian pension generally have had their identity verified by the Serbian Republic Fund for Pension and Disability Insurance. Australian residence will still have to be verified.

You may also need to provide other information as part of your claim, for example, in relation to your income and assets.

Visit the Services Australia website for more information on claiming an Australian Age Pension and the documents required.

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

Australian pension for a person living in Serbia

The amount of Australian Age Pension payable under the Agreement to someone living in Serbia 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 of 'Australian Working Life Residence'. This is the period of Australian residence between the age of 16 and Age Pension age. If a person has less than 45 years of Australian Working Life Residence, they will receive a proportional rate based on the period of their Australian Working Life Residence. For example, a person who lived in Australia from age 30 to age 50 has 20 years of Australian Working Life Residence and would, after reaching Age Pension age, be paid 20/45ths (44 per cent) of the full means-tested Australian Age Pension in Serbia (provided they meet all other eligibility requirements for the Age Pension).

Note: these rules apply to people receiving the Age Pension under the Agreement with Serbia, for example, because they used the Agreement to claim the Age Pension while living in Australia. Different rules may apply to people who claimed the Age Pension in Australia and then moved overseas or claimed the Age Pension under one of Australia’s other social security agreements.

Australian pension for a person living in Australia

Generally, to qualify for the Australian Age Pension a claimant must have lived in Australia for at least 10 years, with 5 of those years being continuous. People who have lived in Australia for less than 10 years can use the Agreement to include their periods of insurance contributions in Serbia to help meet this requirement. Until a person has ten years of residence in Australia, the amount of any Serbian pension they receive will be deducted from their income and asset tested pension rate.

How are pensions and benefits paid?

If you get an Australian Age Pension in Australia, Services Australia will pay it directly into your bank account every 2 weeks.

If you get an Australian Age Pension and you reside permanently in Serbia, Services Australia will pay it into your nominated Serbian bank account every 4 weeks.

How do I find out more?

For more information on current claim procedures and payments:

For policy information about the Agreement, contact the Department of Social Services.

For more information on how the Agreement will assist seconded workers, please contact the Australian Taxation Office.

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