How much travel is acceptable?

How much travel is acceptable in the required two-year residency period?

How much travel is acceptable?
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John has returned from overseas to make a claim for the Age Pension but is querying how much travel is acceptable in the required two-year residency period.

Q. John
I’m wondering if you can shed some light on the following situation. I am an Australian citizen retired in Bali for the last 10 years. I have returned to take up residence in Australia and have applied for the Age Pension. I believe I now meet all asset and residence requirements, but I would like to clarify the situation regarding returning to Bali for short or extended periods. I have been told by Centrelink that after two years residence with the pension that I can live permanently overseas without loss of pension, but there seems to be some grey area. I am trying to find out:

A. If I leave the country for a short holiday will the pension be cut partially or entirely?

B. If the need to have two years residence is accumulative or must be continuous i.e. not leaving Australia. Can I have several trips to Bali over the next two to three years and accumulate the required two years and then be eligible to receive the pension outside of Australia?

A. Below is a response from Centrelink, which basically states that should you leave Australia for any given time in the two year required residency, then your pension will be stopped. An extended absence, or frequent periods of absence may also lead to the Department of Human Services declaring Australia not to be your permanent place of residence and withdrawing your Age Pension.

Provided by Centrelink

With regards to your enquiry about how much overseas travel is acceptable in the first two years after being granted the Age Pension and how the two-year period is calculated, please see below some information that should assist you.

As you have recently returned to live in Australia, if you are granted the Age Pension you will not be able to receive your payment outside the country for two years since your most recent arrival for residence. If you travel to a country that Australia has a social security agreement with, you may be able to continue to get your payment under that social security agreement. However, Australia does not have a social security agreement with Indonesia.

You can travel overseas during your first two years since returning to live in Australia, but your payment will be suspended upon departure from Australia and reinstated when you return, providing you return within 13 weeks.

If you are out of Australia for more than 13 weeks you will need to resubmit a claim for the Age Pension on your return to Australia.

The Department of Human Services must be confident your permanent place of residence is in Australia (unless you travel to a country with which Australia has a current social security agreement).

For further information please visit and follow the links to Living in Australia and Former residents.

If you are intending to travel overseas and want to know how your Age Pension will be affected you can also contact us on 132 300.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Nov 2013
    There seems to be some controversial points in the above answers.

    During my last consultation with Centrelink (1st semester this year) before going overseas on holiday or (moving permanently overseas if I wanted to), I was told the following:

    1-If away from Australia for more than 6 weeks (changed from 13 to 6 weeks this year because some people would spend 6 months overseas and then would come back for another 6 months here, it was pointed out to me) the pension would stay the same but the benefits (supplements, rent assistance, etc.) would gradually decrease until my return to Australia when they could be reinstated.

    2-If I wanted to move overseas permanently having 15 years or more of continuous residence in Australia, I could carry my pension (without the benefits and supplements of course). The pension would be deposited in a bank in Australia, not overseas. It does not matter if Australia has an agreement or not with the country in question.

    Was I told the wrong info at the time?

    8th Nov 2013
    This is a fairly unusual case, involving someone who has returned to live in Oz after 10 years living abroad, so it is not reasonable for me to comment on the restrictions.

    What I do disagree with, however, is the situation that arises where an Age Pensioner travels overseas for more than 13 weeks and the pension is suspended forthwith. Unless there are usual circumstances, as in John's case, it seems to me that a person who qualifies for an Aged Pension should be able to live anywhere in the world that he/she chooses. I have worked and paid taxes for 52 years and will retire next June and I will then qualify for a part-Aged Pension. The benefits of the PBS scheme, Aged Health Card and Medicare card would be virtually useless to me, so where is the fairness if I lose my small Aged Pension as well should I lose it if I choose to live in Marrakesh or Timbucktu?
    8th Nov 2013
    As I said above, unless they changed the rules of the game in the last 4 months (anything is possible), you would be able to live anywhere in the world and still receive your "small" pension. In John's case, it is not clear if he lived in Australia for more than 15 years before going to live in Bali... In any case, a call to Centrelink is a good idea...
    8th Nov 2013
    I tried calling the 132 300 number - what a farce - after giving my CAN [couldnt get any further without that] I got a message to say the call has been revoked due to a more than 35 minute wait due to high demand on the service - guess I will have to go to Centrelink and nail a consultant to the floor to get an answer !!
    8th Nov 2013
    This is weird... Several times I was asked if I wanted them to return the cal and left my number. They always returned my call. No complaints in there...
    8th Nov 2013
    Very similar experience here.
    8th Nov 2013
    Hi,Debbie. Thank you and YLC I enjoy reading it every day.I have just applied for and received a part pension so every article is of interest to me.With regard to holidays while on the pension is the cost of the holiday included in your income estimate or are we allowed to take it from savings or super?
    8th Nov 2013
    I wonder how people can afford to travel on the pension anyway ? as we all know it's a princely sum....
    9th Nov 2013
    That depends. If you live on a strictly pension "income" you can hardly spare a cent on entertainment or trips however some of us have a super in the background. Together with a well designed budget (I know exactly how much I need during the month/year and control the expenses to the dolar), one can afford a few luxuries...

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