8th Sep 2016
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Age Pension: will I have to serve a two-year residency?
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Neville is planning to return to Australia to claim his Age Pension but is unsure how long he will have to remain before heading overseas again.

Q. Neville

I am currently in Vietnam, and have been for two years, travelling around on a

tourist visa. I was planning to return to Australia and apply for the Age Pension on my 65th birthday.

Once I do so, will I have to wait for two years before I can return to Vietnam? If so, what if I return to Vietnam after about three months for any amount of time? How long can I be away before my Age Pension is stopped? And how long would I have to wait until I can receive the Age Pension again? I have read the rules and forum but am not sure about these points.

A. Age Pension payments overseas can be quite complex as it really depends on how Centrelink views your residency status.

Firstly, whether you will have to serve the two-year residency period will depend on whether or not Centrelink considers you to have been an Australian resident while you have been out of the country – did you maintain a home, pay tax, etc? You will need to seek clarification from Centrelink of your residency status.

If you are not considered to have been an Australian resident, then you will need to remain in Australia for two years after your Age Pension is granted. If you leave, your Age Pension is ceased immediately. However, you can take a holiday as long as you are considered a resident of Australia. Centrelink will advise if your absence is considered temporary and how long you can remain outside of Australia before your Age Pension is affected.

If your Age Pension is indeed ceased, then you will need to reapply for the Age Pension on your return. How long it will take before you receive a payment will depend on Centrelink processing times.

You should contact Centrelink on its international phone line.


Related articles:
Claiming your Age Pension overseas
Two-year residency rule





    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    13th Sep 2016
    8:29am
    A pretty sketchy response Debbie. More like a politician responding to a question he did not want to answer.
    Rather than putting it back on Centrelink you might have made better tryed to give an answer to the question. Cheers.
    Doogal
    13th Sep 2016
    10:12am
    Exactly Mick
    KSS
    13th Sep 2016
    1:20pm
    Ever critical eh Mick?

    How do you expect anyone to give a fulsome answer to a complex question without knowing all the personal circumstances? To even attempt to do so would be foolish in the extreme. A bit like you really!
    MICK
    13th Sep 2016
    1:36pm
    Not intending to be "critical". Just that I was looking for an answer to the question and did not find one.
    I'll take that as a comment KSS.
    Aussie
    13th Sep 2016
    2:27pm
    Sorry MICK she is insulting again .... she is totally out of class
    Sorry mate she can not be contructive on an important subject like this ....
    Dee
    13th Sep 2016
    12:19pm
    Rules for Age Pension outside Australia
    You can generally be paid Age Pension for the whole time you are outside Australia, regardless of whether you leave temporarily or to live in another country.

    However, the amount you receive may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

    If you are paid Age Pension under an international social security agreement, the amount that you receive while you are outside Australia is determined according to that agreement.

    If you have returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you have started receiving Age Pension during this period, you cannot be paid outside Australia until the 2 year waiting period has passed. This rule also applies if you were previously paid under an international social security agreement while you were living outside Australia and your Age Pension continues to be paid now you have returned to live in Australia again.

    If you are affected by this rule and you travel outside Australia while remaining an Australian resident, your absence is generally considered to be temporary and is counted as part of the 2 year period.

    If you are affected by this rule and you travel to a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, the agreement may allow you to continue to get Age Pension.

    When to tell us about your travel
    You should tell us you are leaving Australia if you:

    are going to live in another country
    will be away for more than 6 weeks
    are paid under an international social security agreement, or
    returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you started being paid Age Pension during this period
    Otherwise you do not need to tell us that you are leaving Australia. Australia's immigration department will advise us when you leave Australia and when you return.

    The easiest way to tell us about your travel plans is to use your Centrelink online account through myGov. You can get tailored information on how your payments and concession cards could be affected.
    Age Pension rate while outside Australia
    The amount of Age Pension you can be paid may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

    Your rate of Age Pension generally will not change if you travel outside Australia temporarily for less than 6 weeks.

    If you are outside Australia for more than 6 weeks you will be paid at an outside Australia rate. Your Pension Supplement will reduce to the basic rate and your Energy Supplement will stop:

    after 6 weeks if you are going temporarily
    on departure from Australia if you are leaving to live in another country
    If you are paid Age Pension under an international social security agreement, the agreement rules determine the amount that you are paid while you are outside Australia. If you are paid under an agreement, the rate paid after 26 weeks, detailed below, may apply to you when you leave Australia.

    Age Pension rate after 26 weeks
    After 26 weeks your rate will be based on how long you have lived in Australia as an Australian resident between the age of 16 and age pension age.

    You will usually need to have lived in Australia as an Australian resident for 35 years to get a full means tested rate of Age Pension after 26 weeks overseas. If you have lived in Australia for less than 35 years, you will generally get a proportional rate.

    For example, if you lived in Australia for 10 years between the age of 16 and age pension age, you will generally receive 10/35ths of the full means tested rate.

    If you were receiving Age Pension, or another Australian social security pension, outside Australia on 1 July 2014 and you have not returned and stayed in Australia for 26 weeks or more, you will usually need to have lived in Australia for 25 years to get your full means tested rate.

    Going to New Zealand
    Your rate may be affected by the Agreement with New Zealand from the date you arrive in New Zealand if you:

    move to New Zealand to live
    are going to live in any other country, or plan to leave Australia for more than 12 months, and you visit New Zealand, or
    have been outside Australia for more than 26 weeks and you visit New Zealand
    The rate under the Agreement is based on how long you have lived in Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.

    Read more about payments while outside Australia.
    Retired
    13th Sep 2016
    5:43pm
    Australia is the only country in the first world that has this residency rule.
    Australia would save money by paying pensions extra to live overseas.
    My medicare bill confirms this.
    Retired
    14th Sep 2016
    8:11am
    Correction:

    Australia would save money by paying pensioners extra to live overseas.
    Watto
    13th Sep 2016
    8:36pm
    What was complex about the question KSS ???
    If she cant answer a simple question butt out and give the section to someone who can.
    Vince
    8th May 2018
    9:40am
    I have real bad news for all. I lived and worked in Australia 32 years and became a citizen in 1982 and I have extensive family born there. Im also an Irish Citizen but only went to school there. I've lived in South America since 2012 because its much cheaper and speak fluent Spanish and lived here as a child. For The Australian Government RESIDENCY overrides citizenship completely for aged pension! You will now have to live there and stay there forever they do not pay it once you are outside at any time (6 weeks OK) unless there is an agreement with another country according to this new law published May 2018 by the DSS Australian government. Me thinks Australia is running out of money
    http://guides.dss.gov.au/guide-social-security-law/7/1/4
    1. This cheapens any concept of taking up or being of Australian Citizenship.
    2. Its the only "advanced "country that does not pay aged pension to its citizens even if you lived and worked there over 30 years
    Vince
    19th Dec 2018
    7:28am
    Australia treats its old citizens like shit lived therefor 30 years paid taxes 32 years aand made major contributions like why sheep die of blowfly strike published everywhereI am an Australian citizen Moved to South America 10 years ago they will not pay me my aged pension. Have to back and live in a trailer park for two years My whole family is disgusted with this I cannot even see my children in Australia anymore who is the idiot that did this law did not even think of the consequenseces
    Vince
    19th Dec 2018
    7:28am
    Australia treats its old citizens like shit lived therefor 30 years paid taxes 32 years aand made major contributions like why sheep die of blowfly strike published everywhereI am an Australian citizen Moved to South America 10 years ago they will not pay me my aged pension. Have to back and live in a trailer park for two years My whole family is disgusted with this I cannot even see my children in Australia anymore who is the idiot that did this law did not even think of the consequenseces
    Vince
    19th Dec 2018
    8:15am
    I will never see any of my children ever again thanks to your stupid politicians who did not think of the consequences of the 2 year waiting period which now is eternal waiting period no way prefer to die here
    Vince
    10th Jan 2019
    6:43am
    Ausdralia has organized the systematic death of hundreds of thousands of its old citizens that cannot go back with its two year waiting period
    Vince
    10th Jan 2019
    6:48am
    Ausdralia has organized the systematic death of hundreds of thousands of its old citizens that cannot go back with its two year waiting period because living in Austraia with and aged old pension you would be eating food out of whellie bins. My whole family there is ashamed
    Vince
    16th Jan 2019
    9:27am
    This is to family ther Do you want me to go back to Australia and live of wheelie bin food on the streets that is their plan they want to get rid of their old people that is what the 2 year wainting period is about Its basically organized genoside of old Australians
    Vince
    19th Jan 2019
    5:22am
    BTW the 2 year waiting period... When I get terminal I will simply go back there live in a sick bed until I die will cost the Australian government millions for health care multiply that by probably another 1000 old citizens who will do the same and then you are into billions. Much more than if they had even paid half the aged pension here for 10 yearswith good cheap health care payable by myself.The idiotin the Australian government who devised this plan is an absolute cretin. I agree that maybe the minimum time of residency there should have been 25 years.
    Vince
    29th Jan 2019
    9:07am
    Australia with there 2 year waiting period is organized genocide of its old citizens they know we cannot go back and live on the streets there on 18K a year its an organized plan to exterminate its old people that live abroad
    Vince
    30th Jan 2019
    9:35am
    Australia with there 2 year waiting period is organized genocide of its old citizens they know we cannot go back and live on the streets there on 18K a year its an organized plan to exterminate its old people that live abroad
    Vince
    30th Jan 2019
    9:36am
    Austraslia has an organized plan to exterminate its old people that live abroad


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