Aussie expats refused pension

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Dear Editor,

Re: British Expats complain because their incoming age pension is not indexed due to their living in Thailand. The Brits living here in Pattaya should be happy with their lot. Consider us Aussie expats (of pensionable age) who cannot get the age pension at all from the Australian Government.

If you are an Australian Citizen, 65 or above, you can apply for the age pension from within Australia (application is also means tested). However, if you have lived here in Thailand and have not returned to Australia within the last two years you cannot get the pension at all. You are considered a “non-resident of Australia”.

I was born in Sydney and spent my entire professional working life there and paid taxes all that time from age 18 to 60, before I retired and moved to live in Thailand, assuming I would be able to get the age pension when the time arrived.

I have now been advised in writing by the relevant Ministers Office, that to apply, I must return to Australia and live there full time for two years to become eligible. If successful, I cannot then leave the country for the next 6 months and if absent for more than 13 weeks after that, I will lose the pension.

That scenario is out of the question as my home, family and life are all here in Thailand and I have nothing left to return to in Australia.

Shame! Shame! Shame Australia!

Signed “Jingjo”