Retirement Pension

Under the Social Security Agreement between Malta and Australia

Overview

The Retirement Pension may be awarded to a person who reaches retirement age.

What you’ll get

The Retirement Pension is paid every 4 weeks in advance.

The Department of Social Security will inform the applicant in writing about the outcome of the claim. Once awarded, the pension is deposited into a bank account as specified by the applicant in the application form.

By virtue of the reciprocal agreement, pensioners are awarded a pension on a pro-rata basis according to the number of contributions paid in Malta out of their total working life in Malta and Australia.

A Contributory Retirement Pension is awarded with effect from the day following date of retirement.

Please click here for a Schedule of Benefits Rates.

Eligibility

General eligibility criteria:

A person may be eligible to a Contributory Retirement Pension, if the following criteria are fulfilled.

If a person is born:

  • Between 1952 and 1955, the retirement age is 62 years
  • Between 1956 and 1958, the retirement age is 63 years
  • Between 1959 and 1961, the retirement age is 64 years
  • On the 1st January 1962 or after, the retirement age is 65 years

However, a person who reaches 61 years of age can opt for an earlier retirement as follows:

  • 35 years paid or credited contributions for a person born during calendar years 1952 to 1961. (Total number of Social Security Contributions required for this period is 1820)
  • 40 years paid or credited contributions for a person born during calendar years 1962 to 1968. (Total number of Social Security Contributions required for this period is 2080)
  • 41 years paid or credited contributions for a person born on or after 01 January 1969. (Total number of Social Security Contributions required for this period is 2132)

The working life residence periods completed in Australia are considered as paid contributions for the purpose of calculating eligibility for the early opt out.

An early opt out is conditional upon the retirement from any gainful activity from the date of the pension award up to the date the person reaches the statutory retirement age.

Claimant has been employed or self-employed prior to retirement. Claimant must, at some point in time, have been registered under the Maltese Social Security scheme and paid a minimum of 52 weeks of contributions, 1 of which after the age of 19 years.

On the date of retirement, claimant satisfies the relevant Social Security Contribution conditions stipulated by the Maltese legislation under the Social Security Act (Cap. 318.).

Documentation required

General documentation:

  • Birth and marriage certificates, only if not registered at the Public Registry of Malta
  • If the claimant is in receipt of a Service Pension from any former employer, a document indicating the original amount (amount as on first payment) of this pension

How to apply

A person resident in Australia may apply for the Retirement Pension by filling in the applicable claim form.  An application form may be downloaded from the Department of Social Security website.

Alternatively, this can be obtained from Centrelink office in Australia or the Malta High Commission Offices in Australia.

Nonetheless, it is Centrelink who must ultimately forward the claim forms to Malta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once a person reaches retirement age, does s/he automatically become eligible to receive a retirement pension?

Provided that the person satisfies the contribution conditions described in (Eligibility), s/he is entitled to receive a retirement pension.

Does one need to apply for it?

Yes. An application must be lodged with Centrelink.

If I attain Maltese retirement age but am still working, am I entitled to receive my pension?

Yes. Persons, who reach Maltese retirement age (as applicable in Eligibility) and are still in employment, are entitled to receive their pension (provided all the other criteria are satisfied) irrespective of the income from employment.

What are the relevant contribution conditions for retirement pension under the Reciprocal Agreement between Malta and Australia?

Entitlement to contributory benefits, apart from any other statutory conditions, depends upon a contribution test.

The first test defines the minimum amount of contributions that need to be paid in order for a person to be entitled for a pension:

  • Two-Thirds Pension
    Under the Social Security Agreement between Malta and Australia, the claimant must have paid a minimum 156 weeks of contributions under the legislation of Malta after the 21st January 1979.
  • Retirement Pension
    Under the Social Security Agreement between Malta and Australia, the claimant must have paid a minimum 156 weeks of contributions under the legislation of Malta prior to the 21st January 1979.

The second test is an arithmetical calculation of the yearly average of contributions paid by or credited to the insured during a certain period (as specified by the Social Security Act Cap. 318.). Normally this period can vary from 30 to 40 years in the case of a Two-Thirds Pension and 47 years in the case of a Retirement Pension. Working life residence in Australia would be considered in lieu of contributions paid in Malta provided that a minimum of 52 contributions are paid in Malta over the age of 19 years.

What is the difference between a Two-Thirds Pension and Retirement Pension?

The Two-Thirds pension is an earnings-related pension applicable to all persons who have been insured in Malta after the 16th January 1979. The basic statutory conditions are that the person has been in insurable employment for at least 10 years prior to retirement and who satisfied the contribution conditions laid down in the Social Security Act Cap. 318. The rate of a Two-Thirds pension depends mainly on the average of contributions paid or credited and the person’s pensionable income. There is a maximum and minimum rate of Two-Thirds Pension, which is dependent upon the person’s yearly contribution average.

In the case of the other pension paid, Retirement Pension, Increased Retirement Pension, National Minimum Pension, Increased National Minimum Pension, and Decreased National Minimum Pension, these are paid to persons who were registered under the previous National Insurance Act prior to 1979. The rate paid depends mainly on the average of contributions paid, on the Pensionable Income, and also on whether a person is in receipt of a service pension.

How is Retirement Pension calculated?

The rate of Retirement Pension depends on:

  1. The average of contributions paid
  2. The pensionable income earned from the last gainful occupation in Malta
  3. The ratio resulting from the total number of contributions paid in Malta divided by the total number of contributions paid in Malta and Australia

How is a contribution average calculated?

In the case of a Two-Thirds Pension, the Contribution Average is the average of the sum of two separate averages over a period of 35 years (Minimum 15, Maximum 50 contributions per year). The first average is derived from the contributions paid in the last 10 full calendar years prior to retirement (total contributions divided by 10). The second average is derived from the contributions paid in any 25 years, preceding the last 10 years, starting from the year a person reaches 19 years of age (or 18 years of age for persons born on or after 3rd April 1958) to the year immediately preceding the starting year of the last 10 mentioned above (total contributions divided by 25).

In the case of all other Retirement Pensions mentioned above, the Contribution Average is the average of contributions paid (Minimum 20, Maximum 50 contributions per year) from the year during which a person reached age 19 or 18 as indicated above, to the calendar year immediately preceding the year of retirement.

What is the Pensionable Income?

The Pensionable Income is the average result of the income earned by a prospective pensioner, calculated as follows:

The average annual basic wage or salary of the best 3 consecutive calendar years in:

  • The last 10 years in the case of an employed person who attains pension age at age 61
  • The last 11 years in the case of an employed person who attains pension age at age 62
  • The last 12 years in the case of an employed person who attains pension age at age 63
  • The last 13 years in the case of an employed person who attains pension age at age 64

The average annual basic wage or salary of the best 10 calendar years of the full 40 years contributions of an employed person who attains pension age at age 65

Where the persons did not work in Malta during the last 10 years prior to retirement, the last income in Malta is considered. This income is then updated with the cost of living increases awarded by the Maltese government up to the date of retirement.

Is there a right to appeal a Retirement Pension decision?

Yes, if a person does not agree with the Department’s decision, s/he has the right to lodge an appeal with the Office of the Umpire. An online application is available.

Life Certification

The Department of Social Security requests a life certification on a regular basis from its beneficiaries residing outside of Malta.  A Life Certificate form is sent to every person in receipt of a pension or benefit.  This form requires a declaration from the beneficiary, from a nominated next of kin and from a witness with a professional background. The information provided in the life certificate ensures that the information held by Department is accurate and updated.

Malta High Commission Offices in Australia

Malta High Commission – Canberra
38, Culgoa Circuit
O’Mailey A.C.T. (2606)
Australia
Tel – 001 262901724
Fax – 061 262902453
Email – maltahighcommission.canberra@gov.mt

Consulate of Malta – Melbourne
Suite 613, 6th Floor
343, Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel – 0061 (3) 9670 8427; (3) 9600 3953
Fax – 0061 (3) 9670 9451
Email – maltaconsulate.melbourne@gov.mt (General)

Consulate of Malta – Sydney
Suite 10.04, Level 10
31 Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel – +61 (02) 9262 9500
Fax – +61 (02) 9264 4722
Email – maltaconsulate.sydney@gov.mt

CENTRELINK International Services
GPO Box 273
Hobart
Tasmania 7001
Australia
Tel – 0061 3 6222 3455
Fax – 0061 3 6222 2799
Email – international.services@centrelink.gov.au
Website – https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/centrelink