Centrelink Q&A: Is it possible to get two pensions?

Doug wonders if it is legal to claim two pensions while living overseas.

Q. Doug
Is it possible to get two pensions? If someone resides in Australia, receives a pension and would like to move back to their original country where there are no social security arrangements between the two countries, would it be possible to keep the Australian pension and receive the minimum support income pension from that other country?

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A. It is possible to receive two pensions, but it is not possible to receive more than the full amount of the Age Pension in Australia, which I think is what you are hinting at.

This is because you may be confusing the social security arrangements between two countries as the right to report your income from all sources.

You need to report all your income to Centrelink when you are living overseas, just as you do when you are living in Australia. A social security arrangement does not exist for the two countries to communicate your financial situation, that responsibility still rests with you.

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Centrelink will assess the pension you receive from the country where you choose to reside as income and if this takes you over the income limit, your pension will be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar you exceed the limit.

For example, the current limit for couples combined is $316 per fortnight and for singles up to $178 per fortnight.

If your income, including from your non-Australian pension, is $2000 per fortnight, and you are part of a couple, the first $316 will not be assessed.

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The remaining $1684 will reduce your pension by $842 per fortnight. Therefore, based on a couples combined full Age Pension of $1436.20, you would receive $594.20.

These figures are for guidance only, and are based on the current limits, which you can view here.

When you advise Centrelink of your income and assets from overseas, it will convert the value into Australian dollars. This means that there could be some fluctuation in the value of your payment due to the exchange rate. 

Centrelink currently uses the Commonwealth Bank buy rates that apply on the fifth business day before the first of each month.

Centrelink will update your income details on the first of each month and apply this rate of income to your Age Pension payment.

Do you have a question relating to the Age Pension?

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.