The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Terms Defined in Agreements

Defined terms

Article 1 of an agreement defines the key terms used in that agreement. Some terms may be defined because the meaning for agreements is different from the usual meaning or because Australia and the agreement country use the terms differently in their respective social security legislation. Once defined, the terms can be used throughout the text of the agreement and the meaning need not be given each time.

Defined terms play a key part in how an agreement works. Always check the defined terms when reading an agreement. Following are some of the key defined terms and what they mean.


Benefit is a general term used in all agreements. It is defined in Article 1 of individual agreements and may include payments under Australia's social security law in addition to those payments listed in the Legislative Scope Article.


Legislation is defined in agreements to specify which pieces of legislation apply to the benefits listed in Article 2. Legislation means the laws referred to in Article 2 and means, for Australia, those parts of social security law dealing with the payments listed in this Article. Legislation may also refer to other Acts that cover benefits under the agreement such as the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992, or the relevant legislation for the other country that is party to the agreement.

Period of residence in Australia

Period of residence in Australia usually means a period of Australian working life residence as defined in SS(IntAgree)Act section 16. In more recent agreements, the term period of residence in Australia has been replaced with period of Australian working life residence. Australian working life residence is used to:

  • set the rate of Australian pension to be paid overseas,
  • set the minimum period before a claimant can use the totalisation provisions to qualify for an Australian payment, and
  • assist the other country in the process of totalisation.

Note: It is worth noting that for Australian benefits, a period of Australian working life residence is used to determine the RATE OF PAYMENT while a period as an Australian resident is used to DETERMINE QUALIFICATION.

Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act section 16 Australia working life residence generally

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