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Australia and New Zealand have signed a revised social security agreement, which is expected to enter into force from July 2017.
The new agreement includes provisions for the increases to the Australian Age Pension age that will start from July 1, 2017. Claimants under the agreement will be required to have reached pension age in both countries, to ensure that the cost-sharing basis of the agreement is not undermined.
The updated agreement also clarifies that only New Zealand working age residence (defined as residence between age 20 and pension age) can be used to meet the 10-year qualifying residence requirement for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) in Australia. The previous agreement allowed recipients to continue to receive payments for absences of up to 26 weeks, including for DSP and Carer Payments. This is a longer period than is applicable under Australia's domestic portability legislation.
Under the new agreement, portability provisions are aligned and tied into current and future changes to social security law.
Australian Social Services Minister Christian Porter said: "The Agreement will continue to provide support for people who have split their lives between the two countries, providing choices in retirement for individuals who migrate to Australia or New Zealand during or after their working lives."
The current agreement generates pension flows to Australia of approximately AUD263m (USD195m) a year (at June 2016). Australia pays about AUD71.5m a year to New Zealand under the agreement and legislated portability provisions.
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