Brenda has lived in Australia for more than 10 years, but isn’t sure how the residency rule is applied and would like to know when she can claim an Age Pension.
I am 76 years old and came here in 1999 as a senior and was on a senior no-work visa. I was then given permission to work but I could only find contract work, so I started a class once a week to help me through and I did this for a period of six years. My permanent residency wasn't granted until 2008, and according to social security law, the 10 years wait has a clauseof five years on top of the 10 to my understanding.
I have been here 16 years and filed tax returns when I worked. My question is, do I have to still wait until 2018 to claim for an Age Pension? I have done years of workin the USA and UK, which I have been told should be considered. Can you advise?
A. The residency rule requires you to reside in Australia for 10 years, which must include a continuous period of five years. Any time spent out with Australia in this period will be added on to the 10 years.
A holiday of say two months would generally be considered to be a temporary absence. If an absence from Australia is temporary, it does not interrupt the period of Australian residence.
The 10-year period would have commenced when you were granted permanent residency, so, under this rule, you would have to wait until 2018.
However, as you have spent time living and working in the US, you may be able to have this time counted under the international social security agreement that Australia has with the USA. There is no such agreement with the UK, so any time you spent living and working there will make no difference to your residency. However, if you are entitled to a UK pension, you will need to claim this and have it assessed when you make a claim for an Australian Age Pension.
To start the process, you should contact Centrelink on 13 2300 and discuss your options.
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