Centrelink Q&A: Will overseas travel affect your Age Pension?

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James is confused by Centrelink rules and wants to know if a second overseas trip will affect his Age Pension.

Q. James
I will try and keep this simple. I am confused as the Centrelink web info is not clear to me.

I am 73-years-old and worked and lived in Australia all my life. When I turned 70, I went for a two and half year overseas holiday. In effect, I was overseas for two and half years. (January 2015 to August 2017) As soon as I returned I applied for the Australian Age Pension and was successful. I returned to Australia August 2017. My Age Pension was approved December 2017.

So, am I able to go on another overseas holiday early in 2018 for say 6 weeks? Or, can I in early in 2018 move permanently overseas? (Thailand)

A. As you returned to Australia to claim an Age Pension, you are subject to the two-year residency rule which means that your Age Pension will be stopped if you leave Australia permanently.

In regards to taking a six-week holiday, you will need to clarify with Centrelink directly. While you are able to travel overseas temporarily during the two-year residency period, you will need to confirm that Centrelink does indeed consider your trip within the ‘rules’.

It would probably be useful for you to make an appointment to speak to a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer to outline the rules that apply to your specific circumstances.

All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    Cannot really understand the Govt being interested in keeping oldies on shore by shortening their pension payments as they would save a lot of money on medical costs and general
    pensioners’ concessions. Of course if one is wealthy enough to be impacted by the assets test
    it could make sense to depart for other jurisdictions because it would be very difficult to
    asset test people overseas. I knew some Greeks in Melbourne living in Govt housing and busy paying off their houses in Greece, that was in the 70s but it might still be going on.

    • 0

      People having been qualifying for the pension and then high tailing it back to “their home” in a foreign country.
      Its a difficult one as we don’t want people ripping off the system but we don’t want to effectively keep pensioners marooned on this island either.

  2. 0

    So what’s the cut off point?
    How long can you be overseas for before they make you wait 2 years for portability?
    3 months?
    6 months?
    A year?

    Or do the make it up as they go along applying their residency “rules”?

    • 0

      You can go right now if you’ve lived in Australia for 35 years and are
      over 65 years of age and you will get your pension without the
      supplement – that is how I understand the rules to date. But if
      you have lived outside the country prior to turning 65 and then come back to claim the age pension they make you stay here for 2 years.
      But do not wait as all the rules are continually changing.

    • 0

      Cowboy Jim yes mate you are correct but you still get the supplement of $23.40 today ….. So basic pension of $826.20 + $23.40 = $849.60 x fortnight if live overseas after 6 weeks.

      Some interesting info here …..

      Note that pensioner overseas are saving the government about $6,000 x year because they do not get any services like Medicare or any other like rent assistance or any other X rays or medical that you get while in Australia ……. Interesting article.
      Make the calculations and you will see we save the government a lot of money ….

      In 2016, 11,660 Australians over 55 permanently relocated overseas, so $6,000 x 11,660 pensioners living overseas in 2016 has saved the government a big big chunk of money = $69,960,000 Million x year …… add 0.5% move O/S pensioners today (From 2016 till 2018)


      also some more info here … http://www.ozexpats.com/content/australian-pension-overseas

  3. 0

    Can’t give advice on this matter as we try and restrict our overseas travel to six weeks at a time
    Get independent advise from other than Centrelink FIS officers as many of them give incorrect advice this has happened to us on three occasions
    Their website is designed to confuse as it is lacking in complete information
    Thy the social services website as this is more concise these are the rules Centrelink have to by law conform to



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