With the decision by many Australians to take early retirement or being affected by redundancy we find people moving overseas and living off savings or investments for their final working life years.
Most are not aware that this can cause problems when they reach the Age Pension age qualification and return home to claim this.
People who may have spent over 40 years in Australia working and paying taxes can find themselves in a position where although they are entitled to the pension, or part of if they have investments, it is not portable for 2 years.
Another person who stays in the country until he is 65, or whatever age he now needs for the Age Pension, can cheerfully leave the country the day he qualifies and be paid while overseas.
This is not a situation where people who have worked overseas for years can claim a full pension outside of Australia, the Australian Working Life Residency law makes sure of this, you must have spent 35 years in Australia at working age to take a full pension offshore for any length of time.
I can see no rhyme or reason to the 2 year portability law, a person who returns to Australia for a few years before he applies for the Age pension will qualify for portability while someone who does not wont, even though they may have worked longer in Australia in total.
To make it even more unfair, the decision whether the time spent overseas is too long to qualify for the pension portability is not in any legislation, it is made by Centrelink.
Someone who spends the final 12 months of his working life period can possibly be at the same risk of portability loss as someone who may have been away for 10 years.
Most people I know who have been forced into this situation have accepted it and returned to Australia for 2 years, often undergoing considerable hardship with partners or family left behind and finding themselves placed in a position of having to make a new home for a 2 year period while trying to spend as little as possible.
I think everyone effected should appeal and complain to the highest level, become a serial pest, write, ring and email the relevant ministers, camp on your MP’s doorstep and in particular ask WHY????
It is a law that benefits no one, self funded retirees are not restricted and the taxpayer support their pensions through tax breaks to the same extent as the Age Pension.