Hoaxes & Rumors

Do Australian Refugees Receive More Assistance than Pensioners?

Do Australian Refugees Receive More Assistance than Pensioners?

A rumor suggests that Australian refugees receive more government assistance than pensioners.

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The rumor is false.

Let’s first take a look at the rumor being circulated.

The graphic below was sent to us by a Facebook user. The figures in the graphic claim that Australian aged pensioners receive a total yearly benefit of $16,068, while illegal immigrants/refugees living in Australia receive $56,680 per year. This graphic includes a date of February 22, 2012 and a caption which reads, “This is disgusting. Please share I don’t think most people realise just how bad this is.”

Australia pension hoax

This Australian pension graphic is circulating in 2012. It’s a hoax.

The Australian government has issued several rebuttals to this rumor, stating that it is categorically false. See, for example, the following response by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship in 2009:

Letter to the Editor – Atherton Tablelander
02 September 2009

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) totally rejects the false claims that refugees permanently settling in Australia receive more in benefit payments than Australian pensioners (Pensioners deserve fair go, 01/09/2009).

The figures quoted, which have been circulating in a hoax email, bear no resemblance to income-support payments to pensioners, or to payments to asylum seekers and refugees settling in Australia.

The text and figures in the email appear to have originated in Canadian emails, websites and internet chatrooms. We suspect that the email circulating here has been cut and pasted from these sources.

In Australia, refugees granted permanent visas may gain access to benefits on the same basis and at the same rates as other Australian permanent residents.

There is no separate rate of benefit payments for refugees. Refugees receive no cash payments under Australia’s Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy.

DIAC helps eligible refugees with English-language lessons and settling-in assistance including basic goods to start a household, subsidies for rent and utilities for their first four weeks in the country.

We would strongly encourage anyone who receives an email claiming asylum seekers or refugees are treated more favourably than Australian permanent residents to hit the delete button and ignore these scurrilous claims.

Sandi Logan
National Communications Manager,
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

2 September 2009

Bottom Line

Polarizing allegations such as this have circulated against several countries, not just Australia. This particular rumor dates back at least 6 years and has no basis in fact, nor has any corroborating evidenced ever surfaced to prove the veracity of these allegations.

It’s a hoax.

Hoax refugee email (Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship: Sep. 2, 2009)


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