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  1. #1
    Member beano's Avatar
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    Aussie Pensioners Shafted

    Welfare loophole allows disability pensioners to go on permanent vacation

    A LOOPHOLE in welfare laws has been allowing hundreds of disability support pensioners to use their pensions to travel overseas most of the year and keep second homes in popular South-East Asian holiday destinations. The jet-setting lives of 776 disability support pensioners were discovered by a joint Centrelink and Department of Immigration investigation, which found many were taking up to nine overseas trips a year.
    The study uncovered 154 gold-class frequent flyers who spent all but eight weeks a year overseas. Of these, 71 spent less than a month in Australia and there were eight described as fly-in, fly-out pensioners who spent only a week a year in Australia.
    The loophole allows disability support pensioners to keep claiming the pension, which is now more than $700 a fortnight, if they return to Australia once every 13 weeks.
    Thailand and the Philippines were the top two locations for welfare recipients living in second homes overseas.


    In both countries, $700 a fortnight is considered a small fortune, much more than the earnings of many working full-time, who would consider themselves relatively well off.
    Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the Federal Government would close the loophole, which allowed the 154 worst offenders to spend most of their time overseas, costing taxpayers $3 million a year.
    Even though only Australian residents can lodge a claim for the disability support pension, and those on the DSP can only be absent from Australia for up to 13 weeks, there are cases of DSP recipients living permanently overseas and flying back to Australia every 13 weeks to continue receiving the pension, Ms Macklin said.
    It is not known if those who claimed pensions while living overseas were working while overseas.




    Welfare loophole allows disability pensioners to go on permanent vacation | Courier Mail
    And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
    And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.

  2. #2
    Mid
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    double edged sword ain't it ?

    fair enough they ain't putting much back into the local economy but then again they ain't using the infrastructure either .

  3. #3
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    $700 a fortnight in Thailand is enough to live a decent life but In australia would barely cover rent let alone everything else. If they can afford flight back every 3 months, good luck to them.

  4. #4
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    If they are legitimately disabled, I cannot understand the relevance of where they chose to live. I have a friend here who was a policeman in the USA but retired after being shot. Absolutely legitimate, he walks with a limp because the bullet damaged his knee so badly. Does the fact he choses to live here make his disability any less legitimate?

  5. #5
    Member beano's Avatar
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    The aging single white male is Australian society's new nigger.
    This is about keeping them out of Asia because of what they "might" be doing there.

    776 people in a country of over 20 million... 3 million dollars a year involved. The senior public service committee that dreamed this up would have been paid more than that if you include expense account lunches.
    Wonder if they got tax payer funded trips to the relevant counties as well?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    If they are legitimately disabled, I cannot understand the relevance of where they chose to live. I have a friend here who was a policeman in the USA but retired after being shot. Absolutely legitimate, he walks with a limp because the bullet damaged his knee so badly. Does the fact he choses to live here make his disability any less legitimate?
    Very good point BobR.
    I can see this being the thin edge of the wedge where by Aged Pensioners will be persecuted for attempting to gain a better quality of life on their pensions.

    "Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the Federal Government would close the loophole, which allowed the 154 worst offenders to spend most of their time overseas, costing taxpayers $3 million a year."

    I also would like to know just how these disability pensioners traveling overseas for extended periods would cost the taxpayers any more than if they stayed at home?

    Absolutely disgusting that these disabled people have been labeled "offenders" by the minister. What was their crime?

    And as for not knowing if these "offenders" are working overseas, --- how difficult would it be to check their visa types and for work permits?

    This is just a money grab against disabled citizens by the federal government.

  7. #7
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Got to go with BobR on this. I too have a cop friend here in the Philippines on disability after being badly injured in a high-speed chase. They pay the same amount, whether he lives fairly well here, or in a trailer in an American trailer park. Why should he be persecuted because he showed the initiative to seek out a better life?

  8. #8
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    Yep- I've got a buddy who was a fireman in the States- a burning roof fell on him and nearly killed him, and he's out on 75% disability pay- that's a lot of money in SE Asia, but not so much back in Cali (where he's from)- should he have a lower standard of living just because someone else seems jealous? The money he's paid is the same either way- it's his business how it's spent- he gets taxed on it like everybody else.

    He put his time in, and now he lives where he wants- seems fair enough.
    There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
    HST

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton
    Why should he be persecuted because he showed the initiative to seek out a better life?
    May be that in Australia you have to meet a criteria to obtain the said benefit. By now showing that you are fit to travel, or seem more mobile, than when first assessed for the benefit, then perhaps there's a need for a reassessment ? Just my thought.

  10. #10
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    Centrelink: Leaving Australia Permanently

    The good news is that if you are terminally ill then "payment can continue indefinitely". Very generous!

  11. #11
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    1400. a month is a small fortune as determined by what brillant economic brain? Take in living expense and flights back, they should be asked to give the secret to living within their means. Some bean counter is attempting to get his name up front for a government promotion. Go after the real abusers and let the ex working man get on in a way he/she has found acceptable for their life style.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by superman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton
    Why should he be persecuted because he showed the initiative to seek out a better life?
    May be that in Australia you have to meet a criteria to obtain the said benefit. By now showing that you are fit to travel, or seem more mobile, than when first assessed for the benefit, then perhaps there's a need for a reassessment ? Just my thought.
    Fair enough if the government wants to change the assessment criteria to be eligible for a disability pension. But why single out only pensioners who spend extended periods overseas? The fact that other disability pensioners travel within the country and on short trips overseas has not been questioned as relevant to thier disability claim.

  13. #13
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    I doubt that there will be much public resistance to this latest government move announced by Minister Jenny Macklin as it affect such a small number of people. And of course the general public perception that expats living in Asia are either sex-tourists and/or paedophiles. And of course anyone speaking out about this latest government injustice would be treated with great suspicion.
    Interesting that the minister just happens to be a woman. I wonder if it was a Feminazi bean-counter who came up with the idea in the first place?

    Labor wont be getting my vote in the next election.

  14. #14
    Member beano's Avatar
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    They brought in initiatives to get disabled pensioners back in the work force, even part time, which I totally agree with.
    People over 60 are unemployable if they have any injury or illness record at all, most have paid for their pensions with their taxes, many (like me) had private pension schemes that their ex wives trashed.
    There's no benefit to anyone by restricting their movements.

  15. #15
    Member peter000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda
    I doubt that there will be much public resistance to this latest government move announced by Minister Jenny Macklin as it affect such a small number of peopl
    I think the fact that the reporter uses the term "loophole" 3 times says it all. Loopholes tend to be seen as needing closing and no doubt this loophole will be closed, with little further ado.

  16. #16
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    This is a human rights issue.

    As long as one is not a criminal on probation, why would the government care (to deny benefits) based on where they live? Those people paid into the system for the duration of their working lives and are getting the benefits.

    I assume the point is that people on disability or pension benefits ought to lead a miserable existence, otherwise people get outraged about public money being wasted, even if it is fair and doesn't cost the public more. Throw in the sexpat label (Thailand and Philippines, cough cough), and you have backlash. What about Australians with disabilities who live in USA or UK for various reason -- I bet those would not be seen as much of a problem, since their life in said places can be sufficiently miserable.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by beano
    The aging single white male is Australian society's new nigger.
    Extend that to ALL societies, if you ain't a member of a "persecuted" minority you are a fucking nobody these days.

    Seems like the Aussie government is following the lead given by the UK and screwing the pensioners. If a person is legitimately due an allowance why should they not be allowed to spend that allowance how and where they like?

    As for closing loopholes, of course people must be made to understand that loopholes are for the sole use of politicians and the wealthy to avoid paying taxes etc.

  18. #18
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    Now the rhetoric and crappy comments have gone, lets have a few facts shall we, disabled australian pensioners are allowed to travel overseas for 13 weeks without losing their benefits, which with free medical care and travel and other allowances bring an average single disabled person under 50 upto a minimum incomeof 2400 dollars a month and if said person also has children that income can practically double!!disabled over the age (as inour case) of 62 recieve an australian pensionof 1400 dollars a month in addition to our other overseas pensions which are taxed at 49cents on the dollar!! we have to notify in person centrelink when we leave australia, we have to provide photo ID so that no one else can sign in for us,immigration used to notify CL once a month of departures and arrivals but now in queensland it is twice weekly,we have never tried to rort the system, simply because it is not worth the hassle, we usually try and spend a minimum of 3 months a year in thailand and a couple of months in malaysia, all depends on what flight deals pop up, I think and hope that it is the socalled 35 to 50 year old lazy unemployable gits who the govt take off the unemployment figures and declare them disabled to make the figures look good, who live in bali and thailand, 48 weeks of the year,in closing, centrelink have so many rules that are misinterpreted by staff,we always have copies of the rules of travel and residence so we can back up any statements or appeal any on the spot decisions!their rules state you must inform them of departures and arrivals within 14 daysmy wifes medicare treatment was stopped 6 weeks ago because according to Centrelink she was still on holiday in thailand, we have been back in aus since november and we have stamped proof that we reported in, last week we were notified that they had made a mistake, but they would not pay the costs for our medication (Insulin and Ventolin ) that we had to privately purchase, but as always when dealing with australian authorities it is a case of the tail wagging the donkey!!

  19. #19
    Mid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ningi
    rhetoric and crappy comments
    where have you read these ??

  20. #20
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^I believe Ningi means everything other than his own enlightened views.

  21. #21
    I am in Jail
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    I certainly hope that I never have to sit on Ningi's plane when he goes home.
    Nine hours of that?

  22. #22
    Member beano's Avatar
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    So is he for unrestricted travel or agin it?

  23. #23
    Member Ningi's Avatar
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    if you believe everything you read in the australian papers it makes nearly as much sense as the Nation

  24. #24
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    It sounds like Ningi is speaking from bitter experience.
    Is he for unrestricted travel ?
    It seems so, apart from " the socalled 35 to 50 year old lazy unemployable gits who the govt take off the unemployment figures and declare them disabled to make the figures look good, who live in bali and thailand, 48 weeks of the year".
    Unfortunately I have a foreboding that the government is going to do something heavy-handed and spoil it for people who are here legitimately, by making them jump through even MORE hoops.

  25. #25
    Member beano's Avatar
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    Then write to the minister. And the Prime Minister.
    They've got an election coming up this year and it looks like it may go to the wire. Maybe they may not want to piss off a few pensioners when it's not going to save any money anyway.

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