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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4026

(Question No. 4624)

Mr Blunt asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 19 September 1986:

(1) What processes does his Department use to review the overseas payment of pensions and other benefits.

(2) What officers of his Department have been involved in these reviews.

(3) What is the (a) travel, (b) accommodation and (c) total costs incurred by these reviews in corresponding costs in 1986-87.

(4) Which counties have been visited by review officers and what benefits are paid to residents of these countries.

(5) What have been the results of the reviews.

Mr Howe —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Entitlement reviews of pensions and benefits paid to persons living overseas are conducted by mail. Details sought from pensioners in overseas reviews are similar to those sought in reviews in Australia. Local factors such as general increases in government pensions in a particular country may influence the timing of a review overseas.

(2) About 45 officers are involved nationally in the administration of pensions paid overseas, including the conduct of reviews.

(3) Officers do not travel overseas to conduct these reviews. No separate costs are maintained for the conduct of these reviews.

(4) No countries have been visited for the purpose of conducting reviews. Statistics on pensions and benefits paid to pensioners who are residents of other countries may be found in the Annual Report of my Department.

(5) No specific review statistics are maintained. The aim of any pension review is to ensure that pensioners are receiving their correct entitlements.