The International Social Security Agreement between Australia and India commenced earlier this year, marking the 30th international social security agreement from around the world.
As National Manager Pam Saunders explains, this latest agreement is an important addition.
“The agreement allows Indians living in Australia to claim Indian benefits and Australians living in India to claim the Australian Age Pension.
“I was fortunate to be part of the delegation which travelled to Delhi last year, made up of representatives of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Social Services and the Australian Taxation Office.
“India is such an energetic, vibrant country- full of colour, movement and sound.
“Seeing the differences in government processes was really interesting. India’s Age Pension claim requires fingerprints for verification, and ours requires more detail about the customer’s circumstances.
“It makes sense when you consider their pension is contributory, and ours is needs based so we need to know so much more about the applicant”, Ms Saunders explained.
Representatives discussed administrative processes to ensure systems, forms and communication products were ready for the implementation of the agreement.
“We also learnt a lot more about the Indian Employees Provident Fund Organisation”, Ms Saunders said.
“The agreement will improve access to pensions for people who move between Australia and India, and help people maximise their income in their retirement years.
“The agreement also helps reduce costs for businesses operating in Australia and India, by ensuring employers and employees do not have a double superannuation and pension contribution liability if employees are temporarily sent to work in the other country.
“It is expected that in the early years of the agreement, fewer than 100 claims will be received per year, with all claim work centralised at the Department of Human Services through Centrelink,” Ms Saunders said.
Download image: International Agreements infographic (JPG, 511KB)