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Old 04-11-2013, 04:28   #1
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Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

I've been reading the thread on the problems with the US health insurance system and it makes me thankful I don't live there. (And wondering why they are so loath to change it). But that is not what I want too talk about here.

After waiting 63 1/2 years I'm on the count down to enjoying my reclining years at tax payer expense so I went into Centerlink today to check on a few things. Most of the answers were as expected except one.

It used to be that I could be away from Aust for up to 12 weeks before I lost any benefits. But our former and allegedly socialist govt quietly reduced that to just six weeks last year.

That is going to have a significant impact on my plans. What about other Aussie cruisers and expats that depend at least partially on the welfare safety net. What are you doing?

If I move to Bali, does it count if I check into Xmas island with the refugees occasionally.? (Just kidding)
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:10   #2
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

To be honest, I get the reason.. Lots of people are taking pension money out of the economy by leaving the country. Rightly or wrongly it affects the economy. If one is truly deserving of benefits ( everyone), they should spend it at home..

Obviously, if you own a B37 you're not starving and that's a good thing. But sadly our socialist govts of the last 30 years have created a hand out society where people feel its a "right' to get a pension. It was only ever meant to be a safety net, however its now a lifestyle- as is the Dole, single mums pension etc etc.

I specifically remember Rudd and to a lesser degree Abbott flogging the "what we are going to do for YOU" messages throughout the last election. Rather than what they are going to do for the country. We have a society of WIFM's (whats in it for me's) which will have to change with our aging population, else our kids will be taxed through to teeth to support us. Not so much financially, but through services.

Excuse my ranting. But yes, I get the changes and even though I am still a decade from retirement I understand the reasoning. Albeit at your expense sadly and in latter years mine also.

On a side note, if you keep and eye on flyscoot.com airasia and tiger, there are VERY cheap fares to get you home as needed. Whip into darwin and back out again as a part of a visa run. Simple :-D

Good luck and congrats on the upcoming retirement
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:26   #3
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

Are you talking about aged pension or a different benefit? I don't think that's correct.

For Newstart (jobseekers) it gets cancelled from day 1 and some allowances have dropped from 13 weeks to 6 weeks away before loss. But from my understanding an aged pensioner can still get the payment indefinitely while outside Australia. If you have been living here less than 25 years the rate will be reduced.
"You can get Age Pension for the whole time you are overseas, regardless of whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.
However, the amount of pension you receive may change if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks. Whether or not your payment amount changes will depend on how long you have lived in Australia between age 16 and age pension age. "
However, the pension comes in 2 parts .. the pension and the pensioner supplement. The supplement is to help with phone, rates, power, etc and it makes up a bit less than 10% of the total. I can't make sense of the Human Services website (what a stupid department name) as to what happens to the supplement as it seems to have conflicting information and links back in a loop.
"You can get the basic amount of Pension Supplement for as long as you maintain eligibility. It doesn't matter whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently. If you leave Australia temporarily, you can get the 'minimum' and 'remaining' amounts of Pension Supplement for the first six weeks."
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:38   #4
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

For non-Australian cruisers visiting OZ, there are various health covers available. We have Australian Unity.

And if you require local banking, if you set it up within one week of arrival, there's very little paper work.

Ann
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Old 04-11-2013, 18:36   #5
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskipper View Post
To be honest, I get the reason.. Lots of people are taking pension money out of the economy by leaving the country. Rightly or wrongly it affects the economy. If one is truly deserving of benefits ( everyone), they should spend it at home..

Obviously, if you own a B37 you're not starving and that's a good thing. But sadly our socialist govts of the last 30 years have created a hand out society where people feel its a "right' to get a pension. It was only ever meant to be a safety net, however its now a lifestyle- as is the Dole, single mums pension etc etc.

I specifically remember Rudd and to a lesser degree Abbott flogging the "what we are going to do for YOU" messages throughout the last election. Rather than what they are going to do for the country. We have a society of WIFM's (whats in it for me's) which will have to change with our aging population, else our kids will be taxed through to teeth to support us. Not so much financially, but through services.

Excuse my ranting. But yes, I get the changes and even though I am still a decade from retirement I understand the reasoning. Albeit at your expense sadly and in latter years mine also.

On a side note, if you keep and eye on flyscoot.com airasia and tiger, there are VERY cheap fares to get you home as needed. Whip into darwin and back out again as a part of a visa run. Simple :-D

Good luck and congrats on the upcoming retirement
Hi Oz, thinks for your thoughtful reply

My head does not disagree with you. The social welfare system is a safety net for those less fortunate in life and I think is praiseworthy in a country like Australia. It should not be criticised because it is apparently abused by a significant minority. Afterall, how would the standard of living for the rest of us and the country's economy be affected if billions of dollars was not pumped back into system each year through the welfare system. The other way is a tax deduction for the rich I suppose.

As a B37 owner I would not put myself in the "white shoe brigade" but I'm not in the "rubber thong group" either. I live comfortably but modestly by choice, (mostly in barefeet). I retired early and have funded myself the last seven years.

You are spot on however when you say we have developed an attitude in Australia that the welfare safety net is right, not a privilege. I have to confess that is much my attitude as well. But I also knew that I wanted to spend my leisure years accustomed to a standard that the safety net was never designed to provide and worked hard to ensure that.

It therefore comes at a great irritation to my bowels to discover that all I have managed to do is put myself just beyond the means tested limits so that my self funded income is just a few hundred dollars a month more than a fully funded welfare income.

I fail on the income test, the asset test and now apparently the residency test. It makes me wonder who were the really smart ones. Me or my former in-laws who have made a life long career sucking on the public teat.

Anyhow, enough about me, I really was more interested in Ozzie cruisers who genuinely and ethically depend on the social welfare net to fund their retirement cruising lifestyle. I am now more confused than ever because other sources are telling me that the advise I received from Centerlink yesterday was wrong. You do keep pension benefits regardless of how long you are out of Australia. ????????
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Old 04-11-2013, 21:13   #6
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlust View Post
Are you talking about aged pension or a different benefit? I don't think that's correct.

For Newstart (jobseekers) it gets cancelled from day 1 and some allowances have dropped from 13 weeks to 6 weeks away before loss. But from my understanding an aged pensioner can still get the payment indefinitely while outside Australia. If you have been living here less than 25 years the rate will be reduced.
"You can get Age Pension for the whole time you are overseas, regardless of whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.
However, the amount of pension you receive may change if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks. Whether or not your payment amount changes will depend on how long you have lived in Australia between age 16 and age pension age. "
However, the pension comes in 2 parts .. the pension and the pensioner supplement. The supplement is to help with phone, rates, power, etc and it makes up a bit less than 10% of the total. I can't make sense of the Human Services website (what a stupid department name) as to what happens to the supplement as it seems to have conflicting information and links back in a loop.
"You can get the basic amount of Pension Supplement for as long as you maintain eligibility. It doesn't matter whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently. If you leave Australia temporarily, you can get the 'minimum' and 'remaining' amounts of Pension Supplement for the first six weeks."
Ok, you are right. From the Centerlink handout, here are two parts to the pension.

The "Age Pension" which is means tested but as long as you are an eligible person "can generally be paid for the total period of absence from Australia (some exceptions may apply), however after 26 weeks the rate may change"

Then there are whole list concession cards, supplements and allowances it is these that can be cancelled or suspended if absent for more than 6 weeks.

I was quite specific in my question about living and cruising overseas and was told by the Centerlink adviser that I would lose "any" pension after 6 weeks.

Lesson to be learnt ... don't believe everything the man (or in this case, the woman) tells you.

Thanks for your answer
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:38   #7
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

Yes it's frustrating not to have confidence in what we get told. I know someone who is leaving Australia for a few months and is likely to have a very expensive lesson, based on what I believe is wrong advice.

If I get advice that I am not confident is right, I like to ask for an online reference to the issue, saying "so I can read all about it myself as I sometimes forget the details".
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Old 05-11-2013, 19:29   #8
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Re: Oz health and welfare benefits for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by mausgras View Post
Hi Oz, thinks for your thoughtful reply

My head does not disagree with you. The social welfare system is a safety net for those less fortunate in life and I think is praiseworthy in a country like Australia. It should not be criticised because it is apparently abused by a significant minority. Afterall, how would the standard of living for the rest of us and the country's economy be affected if billions of dollars was not pumped back into system each year through the welfare system. The other way is a tax deduction for the rich I suppose.

As a B37 owner I would not put myself in the "white shoe brigade" but I'm not in the "rubber thong group" either. I live comfortably but modestly by choice, (mostly in barefeet). I retired early and have funded myself the last seven years.

You are spot on however when you say we have developed an attitude in Australia that the welfare safety net is right, not a privilege. I have to confess that is much my attitude as well. But I also knew that I wanted to spend my leisure years accustomed to a standard that the safety net was never designed to provide and worked hard to ensure that.

It therefore comes at a great irritation to my bowels to discover that all I have managed to do is put myself just beyond the means tested limits so that my self funded income is just a few hundred dollars a month more than a fully funded welfare income.

I fail on the income test, the asset test and now apparently the residency test. It makes me wonder who were the really smart ones. Me or my former in-laws who have made a life long career sucking on the public teat.

Anyhow, enough about me, I really was more interested in Ozzie cruisers who genuinely and ethically depend on the social welfare net to fund their retirement cruising lifestyle. I am now more confused than ever because other sources are telling me that the advise I received from Centerlink yesterday was wrong. You do keep pension benefits regardless of how long you are out of Australia. ????????
Thanks for your reply and understanding that I wasnt having a shot.

Good luck with it mate
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