If you are fleeing your native country for another, one of the things you might be concerned about is if there is a social security system in place and, more importantly, if as a new migrant you will be eligible to reap any benefits from the social security system. If you are moving to Australia, or if you are a new resident to the country, you will be relieved to know that Australia does have state benefits, called social security, that is available to all residents, including new migrants once the waiting period condition has been met.
The Australian social security system that is in place for all Aussies is similar in nature to the social security system that is in place in the United States, except that it also encompasses some things that are part of the American welfare system. In Australia, social security is non contributory. While there is a specific levy for Medicare (which is Australia’s National Health Service), social security is exclusively finance from general taxation dollars. Like in the United States, the primary beneficiaries of the social security welfare system are those that are older and disabled, those that are unemployed, single parents, those sick, families with children and others in need.
To be eligible for social security benefits in Australia, you will have to pass an income or means test. Social security benefits are intended for the poorest Australians, and if you are proven to have sufficient income then your benefits payments can be reduced or even terminated. A look at your assets is also done for qualification purposes. Antiques, automobiles, homes and super annunation pensions are exempt from your asset list, but financial investments are not. They are viewed as income because they increase in value each year, so the amount of income from investments is adjusted annual in your means test.
If you are a new migrant to Australia, then you will have a waiting period of 104 weeks before you are eligible to claim social security benefits. There are some exceptions to this waiting period however. If you are a refugee or humanitarian then the waiting period condition is waived. Do not confuse social security benefits with Medicare benefits, as new migrants are allowed to claim Medicare benefits during this waiting period.
Once you are eligible to receive social security benefits, there are several different types of benefits you can receive. Some benefits available are bereavement allowance, child disability allowance, disability support pension, orphan pension, maternity allowance, multiple birth payment if you have triplets or more, the job search and new start unemployment allowances, rent assistance, sickness allowance and youth training allowance. If you do not fall into any of the categories for benefits but are unable to support yourself, you may qualify for a special benefit. A special benefit is simply the name of the payment when you do not fit into any of the need categories but can still show a need for assistance.