Cruising and the Age Pension

Ruth is keen to take a much-deserved cruise, but as she is planning on being away for three months, is worried about how this will affect her Age Pension.

Q. Ruth

I’m thinking of taking the cruise of a lifetime, a world cruise, but somewhere I have read that the Age Pension will be cut if I leave the country for more than six weeks. How can that be? A cruise to USA or Europe always is longer than six weeks and I am saddened to think that oldies are to be punished for finally being able to take a cruise in retirement.

I am worried that a three-month holiday will see my pension cut. That will mean my insurances/bills that are on direct debit will not be paid.

Can you please advise me just what is the true situation re cuts for Age Pensioners.

A. Good on you for finally getting around to taking your much-deserved trip.

You can leave Australia temporarily and your Age Pension will still be paid, but your pension supplement may not, as this is stopped after a six-week absence. You should remain on the same rate of Age Pension for up to 13 weeks, when your rate may change and it may change again after 26 weeks. 

I hope this answers your question but you should clarify your individual circumstances with Centrelink. You will need to advise of your intended absence, should they try to contact you while you are away and there is no response, your pension may be stopped.

Written by Debbie McTaggart