In this Centrelink Q&A, Don says that when his business failed, he headed overseas to live and work. He is keen to return to Australia but doesn’t know if he will qualify for an Age Pension.
I’m going on 67 and I have been stuck living in Asia for the past decade. I shifted here after my business in Australia failed due to a range of reasons after a very successful 15 years. I ended up totally broke with no assets, savings, superannuation, home or car. I survive here on a small family inheritance and the small salary I am able to eke out working in slave-like conditions to pay a high rent and keep a roof over my head.
Is it possible for me to receive an Australian Age Pension as – for the 20 years my business operated, I paid significant taxes to the government while never making any claims on social welfare, medical costs or anything that involved any payout of taxpayer monies?
The reality is that I cannot afford to pay for a return ticket to Australia, and even if I could get there, I would have no place of abode and no ability to enjoy any semblance of a real life. What are my options?
A: Don hasn’t explained where he lives but, sadly for him, on the circumstances he has described, you usually need to be an Australian resident and in Australia to claim Age Pension. However, social security agreements may help you claim if you’re living or have lived and worked in certain countries.
If you get or are eligible for the Age Pension, you may need to take steps to claim a pension from another country. This is if you have lived or worked in a country other than Australia.
Services Australia has an International Services site that can do both of the following:
- help you claim a pension from any country with a social security agreement with Australia
- advise on how to claim a pension from a country without an agreement.
If you live in a country with a social security agreement, Services Australia will support your claim for a pension by sending claim forms, explaining how the claim process works in that country, list which documents you’ll need and help you give all the details you need to make your claim go through as quickly as possible.
The Asian countries with which Australia has social security agreements are Korea, Japan and India.
You may get a reduced rate of pension based on how long you were an Australian resident.
You will still be eligible for the Work Bonus scheme.
If you have qualified for the pension overseas, if you return to Australia, you will have to notify Centrelink of the change in your circumstances and you may have to reapply for the pension,
If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.
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