How much travel is acceptable in the required two-year residency period?
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.
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 HumanServices.gov.au 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.
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