Centrelink Q&A: Is it possible to get two pensions?

Doug wonders if it is legal to claim two pensions while living overseas.

Q. Doug
Is it possible to get two pensions? If someone resides in Australia, receives a pension and would like to move back to their original country where there are no social security arrangements between the two countries, would it be possible to keep the Australian pension and receive the minimum support income pension from that other country?

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A. It is possible to receive two pensions, but it is not possible to receive more than the full amount of the Age Pension in Australia, which I think is what you are hinting at.

This is because you may be confusing the social security arrangements between two countries as the right to report your income from all sources.

You need to report all your income to Centrelink when you are living overseas, just as you do when you are living in Australia. A social security arrangement does not exist for the two countries to communicate your financial situation, that responsibility still rests with you.

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Centrelink will assess as income the pension you receive from the country where you choose to reside. And if this takes you over the income limit, your pension will be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar you exceed the limit.

For example, the current limit for couples combined is $336 per fortnight and for singles up to $190 per fortnight.

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When you advise Centrelink of your income and assets from overseas, it will convert the value into Australian dollars. This means that there could be some fluctuation in the value of your payment because of the exchange rate. 

Centrelink uses the buying rate from the Commonwealth Bank as the exchange rate for most currencies. For other currencies it uses the rates from other banks.

Centrelink will update your income details on the first of each month and apply this rate of income to your Age Pension payment.

It’s a good idea to register for a Centrelink online account through myGov before you leave Australia. That way you can access your letters and other services online while living overseas.

Do you have a question relating to the Age Pension?

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Disclaimer: 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.

One Comment

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  1. I reported my income from another country and got penalized with the so-called equalization. My buddy who has a middle-European pension, didn’t report and gets both.
    I wonder who the idiot is? I certainly know I work a lot harder to make ends meet than he does.

    I realize he is choosing not to declare, but it seems Centrelink are so busy making sure I don’t get 50c more than I am entitled to under their rules, that others are totally ignored. The NZ system where everyone gets the pension and you pay tax over a certain income which includes the AP is much fairer and interesting, requires a lot less staff per 100,000 population to administer than our model. Hmm. What is even more important, is it doesn’t impinge on those who want to do some work and earn extra!

    Our government wants to help with the employment problem here in Australia, but makes a token gesture of allowing us to work. Wake up people. Lies are lies, no matter how they are dressed.

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