Australian International Pension Agreements

Pension for people living Internationally

There has been an agreement to take note of in the area of pension claims in Australia. The recent agreement between Estonia and Australia means that people can claim pension from both countries. The agreement also states that people working temporarily in either Estonia or Australia will be exempted from paying for superannuation and pension schemes in both countries. In fact paying in one country will ensure benefit in both the countries as per the new agreement.

This is an addition to the already existing International Social Security Agreements Australia has. Now a very pertinent question crops up. Who are the beneficiaries of this agreement between Estonia and Australia? It is quite simple. The agreement is going to help people who have lived and worked in Australia and also the country covered under the agreement. In the recent addition it is Estonia. Both the countries will provide cover to the person under their social insurance schemes. It includes various kinds of pension schemes like age pension, Disability support, double orphan and parenting.

The agreement helps people in many ways by allowing them claims in either Australia or the countries covered under the agreement. The claims will add up instead of being individual payments. For example if you have lived in Estonia for 10 years and worked there and are now living in Australia for the past 15 years, you are ensured the claim for full 25 years. It also ensures that no payment restrictions for carers are put into practice. The Australian government has made claiming pension easy even if you are residing in a foreign country. That is why we love the Kangaroos!

 The vulnerable worse Off with More Cuts?

As I say there are always people who need assistance, but it doesn’t always mean they get it. In Australia a review of the nation’s $150 billion welfare system has brought about a plan for 5 payments and also recommends tightening the eligibility for disability support. Young disability support pensioners are going to be facing tougher restrictions with changes to the social security system.

social welfare in Australia getting tighter
Those with disabilities under the age of 35 are going to be having their disabilities reassessed. These new arrangements are extensive too because now payments to disability support pensioners will be cut off if they spend more than 4 weeks a year abroad. So its looking like those who are vulnerable and could use extra help are going to end up being worse off.

In fact if they are pushed down to the Newstart or Unemployment allowance, they’ll be getting $170 per week less than the pension if it is found they can actually work. Add to that the fact that access to the Senior Health Care Card is going to be limited too. The  government’s economic message is aimed at increasing everyone’s ability to contribute to the economy. Labor’s families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said she was concerned about cutting payments to the vulnerable, saying it was hard to live on unemployment benefits or pensions, and that no-one wants to see vulnerable Australians facing even more cuts.

The reforms made Australian Economy Robust

Australian Economy

Australian economy has held up well in the wake of Global economic crisis. When America was reeling under the subprime crisis Australia woke up and made necessary policy changes. The effect of the action is quite evident now.

American financial system required support from the government to recover. But Australian system has stood up on its own without any support from the government. The banks have held their own and have been profitable.

However the recession has affected Australia as well. Economy has slowed down. The most considerable impact was on the equity market. The Wealth reduction at the peak of the crisis was around ten percent. But later much of this decline was arrested by the stabilizing of the markets. By end of 2014 nearly 80 percent of the impact of slowdown on the market was offset.

The Australian dollar was also declining at that moment. Around 30 percent depreciation was a worrying factor. However Reserve Bank of Australia intervened to enhance liquidity. This helped the AUD to recover almost fully.

The robust Australian economy showed no effect on its credit and money markets. This was largely due to almost nil holding in major failures of the financial market. This echoed the strength of the banking system in Australia. Unlike most of the developed world the interest rates on loans and Mortgage were better. This accounted for the financial interest of large players in Australia.

Another very important factor has been the rate of unemployment. Yes it has risen due the global turn down but largely has been kept under check in Australia. Australia has shown to the world how to manage in event of crisis!!!

New Zealand’s Economy Better Off than Ever?

I was reading about NZ economy recently, being a global economist :P, and gathered this interesting information.

It may be that economies around the world are crumbling. Some Kiwis believe New Zealand is heading in the same direction, but when? Certainly in 2015 all is not doom and gloom. March heralded the end of a financial year for New Zealand businesses and businesses ended the year looking far stronger than many of its trading partners.  Some people say New Zealand is headed for good economic times while others see dark storm clouds on the horizon.
Certainly growth in employment looks set to continue in a positive vein in 2015. In fact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reported that just a few months ago, all regions in New Zealand grew some 6.7%. It is looking as though New Zealand business is enjoying yet another year of growth, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank said that all l key economic indicators are headed in the right direction. He said that the Reserve Bank is forecasting real GDP growth, low inflation and falling unemployment.


Many countries around the world are battling enormously with unemployment rates, but with New Zealand, the unemployment rate is expected to fall below 5%, a number which is so low it is actually considered  as full employment. It is amazing that with so many crumbling economies, New Zealand appears to be better off than they were before the Global Financial Crisis.

Social Security Measures for Families

Every strong social security policy needs to ensure that it takes care of the family. After all, the family is the fundamental unit that forms every country, and social security would have to make sure that the needs of the family are being met.

First and foremost, the Family Tax Benefit is the most important social security act people need to know about. This benefit is available to those who have a dependant child aged 16 or under (or aged 24 or under, if still in full-time education). This benefit is given to families who have lower incomes, so the family would have to clear an income test in order to be eligible for the same. The amount paid as benefit is dependent on the number of children in the family and their ages.

Social security benefits family

There is another type of family benefit given to single parent families that have only one source of income, especially if the family also has a dependent child.

Australia also provides citizens with child care benefit. This is used to cover the cost of child care. Any parent or individual responsible for taking care of and paying for a child’s fees and care is eligible to get this benefit. The amount of benefit received depends upon the income of the family.

Health Care Card and its Benefits

Health Care card of the Australian Government helps you get cheaper health care and medicine. Cashinahurry helps the needy with quick disbursal of loans.

The type of concession or card will depend on your eligibility.

  • The income support you receive.
  • Age
  • You have dependants or not
Health Care card
Health Care card

Features of the card

  • The CRN that is Customer Reference Number is displayed. It is very similar to the number on Debit/Credit Card.
  • Home Address is displayed which indicates your native state and locality.
  • Name includes first name and family name.
  • Your spouse name and also the name of dependants is listed on the card.
  • Just like the Credit?debit card it has start and expiry date.

Digital Card – For eligible candidates using digital wallet the digital card is issued. It helps in carrying your card on digital devices like Smartphone, tablet or computer.

Benefits of the card – The card entitles you to various medical benefits. You can get cheaper medication at expensive hospitals if you carry the card. Also you get medicines at a lower rate. If you have low-income then your spouse and children are also covered by the card. However concession changes from state to state.

Lost/Replacement –  If you lose your card or it reaches its expiry date, a replacement is mailed to your address. You can also place a request online. In case of urgency a temporary card can be issued by the local authority.

There are eight categories of the concession card. It covers all the categories of people who require the concession. It is one of the best social security tools given by the Australian Government.


Micro Insurance : The Tool of Social Security

Risk does not depend on a person’s income. Micro Insurance plays a dual role of covering risk and also providing it to low-income group. These schemes cover health, life, assets, crops etc. They use the mechanism of insurance.

Micro Insurance
Micro Insurance – An Innovation to Help the Lower Strata

So how is it different? It provides risk cover and insurance to those people with very fewer resources on their hands. Hence much care should be taken before implementation. It differs from the present Insurance model and provides instant cover, just after first premium payment or part payment.

It is the NGO and Private Companies that drive this scheme. Government provides these actors with the necessary amenities and helps them with the process.

The best thing is it protects against natural disasters. It goes beyond financial help.

  • Increases Productivity and Helps to Accumulate Assets – It goes a long way in raising the income level of the lower-income group. They can save and get rid of general hardships.
  • Health Benefits – Regular vaccinations camps and providing small things like nets for protection from mosquito can help in a big way.

This tool has delivered well. It has been found that it has helped the economically backward in standing up. It has contributed to the National Income Level going up. In Australia the aboriginals are benefitting from this tool. It is helping them join the mainstream.

Power of appeal

I mentioned at the start of this blog that I wasn’t here to help anyone cheat the system – but, I am here to give advice. With that in mind, I want to start early on with the simplest of things you can do if you have a decision go against you by any government authority – appeal. Sounds simple but a staggering amount of Australians simply accept decisions by public servants or feel helpless to try to change them. Public servants are just like anyone, they make mistakes (especially in this current economy with staff cuts, you try juggling a queue of people out the door glaring at you whilst trying to make an accurate decision on a claim, yes, it’s our job, but it’s a busy one). This doesn’t mean there’s a personal vendetta against you, usually it’s just an honest mistake, so the first step should always be to go and ask, explain what you expected and come prepared with any evidence – often that’s enough for someone to see the mistake and fix it.


the layers of Centrelink appeals process

If you are told the decision is correct ask for it in writing, sometimes you may have to do this in writing yourself, which should explain further the basis for a decision. The next step is to make a formal appeal – again, put this in writing explaining the reasons for your appeal – it will go to a separate staff member who can look at it with fresh eyes. Beyond that there are further levels of appeal, such as the SSAT – always ask exactly how far you can appeal a decision, the agency is required to tell you. If you’re not feeling confident with doing this yourself, there are many agencies that can help you – read this useful information from the Welfare Rights Network.

Housing, the reality

the dream of housing

When it was initially conceived public housing in NSW was there to settle the post-war lives of average working families, to give them a place to live for life, clean and stable. Since then, as with most of society this image has changed. Gone are the days most people in Sydney could dream of their own ‘castle’ with backyard, so it’s no surprise that public housing has been affected and changes made

Stocks of housing in NSW over the last decade are low, but the reality is so to is general housing – more people than ever before are pushing the housing sector to bursting. Housing NSW are not perfect and their decisions to handle stock control are sometimes questionable, but, this can’t be blamed solely on mismanagement.

If you are currently on the waiting list for Housing and wondering why and how long you must wait, have a good look at your circumstances. Are you ill, in danger, have an urgent housing need that you can’t reasonably resolve – then you may have good grounds for housing, make sure your facts are clearly known to Housing NSW . If this isn’t you, then the harsh reality is it may be time to rethink your options – do you need to live where you do, most people have to face this question when it comes to housing, and most will have to move areas over their life as affordability becomes an issue. Do you need a house – again, apartment living is becoming the norm for many people in Sydney.

I may sound harsh, but the reason people are not able to get help from public housing is usually not the fault of the people who work there – compared to many countries we still have a good system, but it needs to adjust to today.