Age Pension: when does it reduce if you travel overseas?

If you’re confused about pension payments overseas, this should clarify.

Puzzle pieces fitting together for travel pension

Suri is confused about the current rules that surround how long you can be outside of Australia before your Age Pension payment is affected. The detail below should help to clarify.

Q. Suri
What is the latest Centrelink ruling on how long an age pensioner can be overseas before his, or her, pension is stopped?

A. Your Age Pension can be paid indefinitely if you leave Australia, however, you must advise Centrelink of any travel plans that exceed six weeks in total.

Once you have been out of Australia for six weeks, the rate at which your Age Pension is paid will change to an outside of Australia payment rate; your pension supplement will reduce to the basic rate and your energy supplement will cease. If you are leaving Australia permanently, the changes to your payments will take effect on the day you leave the country. You need to advise Centrelink of any travel plans outside of Australia that exceed six weeks, or if it is your intention to leave permanently.

If you are leaving Australia permanently, or will be absent from the country for more than 26 weeks, then your Age Pension payment will be subject to the working life residence rule. Under this rule, your Age Pension is paid at a pro rata rate that depends on how many years you have lived in Australia as a resident between the age of 16 and age pension age. If this is 35 years or more, then you will be paid the full rate of Age Pension, subject to the outside of Australia payment rules. If you have been resident for less than 35 years, for example 30 years, then you will be paid 30/35ths of the rate applicable to your circumstances.

There is legislation that has yet to be passed that will reduce this 26-week period to six weeks.

You should confirm your individual circumstances with Centrelink.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Feb 2017
    Good advice, thank you. Will my energy supplement cease permanently if I'm out of the country for more than 6 weeks? I plan to be away about 90 days. Mostly doing aid work in Nepal. Pen
    6th Feb 2017
    Yes Pen, it will until you return, but it also s a very small amount
    6th Feb 2017
    Thanks Sundays, oh good, so I'll get the energy supplement back when I return. Thanks again, Pen
    6th Feb 2017
    As an aside, how does Centrelink check on the value of assets of those pensioners living permanently overseas. I'd like Ve to know how many overseas pensioners had their payments reduced since the recent changes.
    6th Feb 2017
    Sundays, this is a very important question that needs to be answered, it is not an aside.
    If you are resident in AUS and receive a part pension of say 10%, because of the income or asset test, and then you leave the country, this interpretation suggests that you could be paid a full pension (less supplements) if you have been resident for 35yrs or more.

    I imagine that this information is at best incomplete or even incorrect. If indeed you can receive a full un-means tested pension by leaving the country, then it opens up a whole new option to comfortable retirement. Care to comment Debbie?
    6th Feb 2017
    Just looking up some NZ Real Estate in case this interpretation is correct. My imagination is running wild as I am ineligible for an AUS pension in AUS, due to the income test.
    constant traveller
    6th Feb 2017
    More a general query. I have been waiting since mid October for my claim for an age pension to be assessed. In that time I have had no communication from Centrelink but when I call them they say the claim is to be assessed by a Complex Claims Officer. Is this delay usual?
    10th Mar 2017
    I am 71 years old and my wife is 61 years old. I was born in Australia and I have worked and resided in Australia all of my life. My wife immigrated to Australia in 1993 and she was given Australian Citizenship in 1995. We are still working with monthly payments of $445 each from our Company. We own a two bedroom Apartment that was purchased in April 2016 (cost $395K) basic furnishings and no motor vehicle. We are required to travel overseas for sometimes up to 6 months at a time for work purposes. Are we eligible for an aged pension?
    Mel & Elizabeth

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