In recent years, a series of emails have been widely circulated throughout Australia claiming to describe the social security entitlements of refugees, compared with those of other Australian residents. A common claim in these emails is that refugees in Australia receive higher social security benefits than age pensioners. Some also suggest that refugees receive free gifts such as houses. Claims of this kind are erroneous and appear to have caused some confusion in the community. They are often brought to the attention of senators and members by their constituents.
This background note describes the current situation with regard to refugee entitlements to social security and other assistance in order to clarify this issue for senators and members.