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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New Social Security Agreement with Chile

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced that the Social Security Agreement between Australia and Chile came into effect on 1 July 2004.

Senator Patterson said the Agreement will allow pensions to be claimed by former Australian residents now living in Chile and Chileans living in Australia.

“This Agreement will allow around 800 Australian residents and former Australian residents now living in Chile to claim and receive Australian or Chilean pensions for the first time,” Senator Patterson said.

“It will benefit those people who have spent part of their working lives in either country, with pension rights being recognised in both countries.

“People born in Chile who are now living in Australia will be able to lodge their claims for Chilean pensions through Centrelink.”

The Australian social security pensions covered by the Agreement are age pension and disability support pension. For Chile, the payments covered are old-age pension, invalidity pension and survivor pension.

The Agreement will also allow Chilean Pensions of Mercy to be exempt from the income test applied to the rate calculation of Australian benefits.

“This Agreement includes provisions covering Australia’s Superannuation Guarantee scheme, similar to the Agreements with Croatia, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States of America,” Senator Patterson said.

“These provisions will eliminate the need for double contributions when Australians work temporarily in Chile or when Chilean workers temporarily work in Australia.”

Australia currently has another 15 international social security agreements in place. These are with Austria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the USA.

Australia’s Agreement partners pay over 109,000 foreign pensions into Australia, while about 39,000 former Australian residents are paid Australian pensions in those countries.

“These Agreements offer freedom and flexibility for people to move between countries knowing that they will still be entitled to receive a pension in both countries, and help close the gaps in social security coverage for people who migrate between countries,” Senator Patterson said.

More information on the agreement is available by calling Centrelink on 131 673 or by visiting either of these websites: International Agreements or Centrelink website (www.centrelink.gov.au).