Age Pension paid overseas

Mike is unsure about the difference between the rules for paying the Age Pension when you leave temporarily and when you leave permanently.

Q. Mike

I would appreciate your clarification on the following if possible.

1. I understand that if you are on the Age Pension and you leave the country for holidays or such for a period of six weeks or more, you must advise accordingly and the pension is suspended until you return.

2. If you are on the Age Pension and you decide to reside in another country and provided that you have lived in Australia continuously for two years prior your departure, then the pension is still paid indefinitely without interruption provided there is no reciprocal pension payment between the two countries in question (i.e. Australia/Malaysia).

Is this correct? And if so why the difference?

A.The two issues are very separate and the information you appear to have been given is not correct.

If you are receiving the Age Pension and decide to travel overseas, you can be paid the Age Pension indefinitely. You must advise Centrelink and your payment may change depending how long you are out of the country and your circumstances. If you are out of the country for longer than six weeks, your pension supplement will be reduced to the basic rate and your energy supplement will stop. 

If you are out of the country from more than 26 weeks, then your Age Pension will be paid in accordance with your working-life residency, which is based on the number of years you have been of working age (over 16) and resided in Australia. To receive the full amount of Age Pension, you have to have 35 years working-life residency, any less and your payment will be pro rata.

In regards to point two, the two-year residency rule only applies to those who have lived overseas prior to returning to claim an Age Pension. Once you have served this period, or it doesn’t apply because you have never lived overseas, then the above rules of payment will apply.

Other articles:

Two-year residency rule

International social security agreements

Written by Debbie McTaggart