HomeCentrelink – Services AustraliaAge PensionCentrelink Q&A: Can I live overseas and still get the Age Pension?

Centrelink Q&A: Can I live overseas and still get the Age Pension?

YourLifeChoices often receives inquiries about living overseas on the Age Pension. Hopefully, our answer here clears up a few things for our readers. 

Q. Charles

My wife and I have both been working for more than 40 years in Australia.

We used to go overseas frequently for breaks averaging six-weeks but always had a return ticket. Now we want to make it permanent and to understand if we can keep our Age Pension. 


A. The good news for Charles and his wife is that the Australian Age Pension is ‘portable’, which means they can live overseas and still get the pension.

However, there may be a few changes. Instead of fortnightly, payments are made once a month. The dates are available here.

It sounds like Charles moved to Australia, and as such there are some rules for immigrants.

Generally, after 26 weeks of living overseas, age pensioners will only keep the same rate of payment if the person has 35 years under Australian Working Life Residence (AWLR) rules. Payments will be reduced if they do not meet the requirements.

The AWLR is calculated by adding up the number of months of ‘working life’ that a person has been a resident in Australia plus one more month.

It’s important to note, the calculation doesn’t mean Charles had to work all those months, just that he was a resident.

Age pensioners who think this rule applies to them must tell Centrelink before they move overseas.

You will have to apply for the Age Pension while living in Australia unless you live in a country that has a social security agreement with Australia and that agreement allows you to apply from your destination country.

International agreements may also make it easier to qualify for the Age Pension as a person’s period of residency in both Australia and the agreement country may be counted towards the minimum residency requirements.

Find out more about which countries have social security agreements with Australia and the rules here.

You may lose some benefits if you move overseas permanently. They include the Pensioner Concession Card, pension supplement, energy supplement and rent assistance.

Depending on your circumstances, you may receive some pension supplement.

For more information, visit Services Australia here.

Have you thought about living overseas on the Age Pension? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: Centrelink Q&A: Should we put our land on one title?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I have read a few posts on another forum that if you decide to live overseas permanently and are no longer considered an Australian Resident that you will be taxed at 33% ,as far as I’m aware that is not legislation as yet ,has anyone heard the same

  2. I am now 79 and I am an Australian born citizen. I worked and lived all my life in Australia until I received a permanent injury at work at the age of 68 and my age was used against me in the final compensation payout where both my employer and their insurance company claimed I should not have been working beyond the legal retirement age of 65 (that was the age that was still written in the legislation. It had not been updated). Getting back on the subject I had to move overseas because of the climate in Australia and me taking 6 Panadeine Forte a day for the pain. I moved to Thailand and notified Services Australia and my pension gets paid directly into my Thai bank account. One of the things that Jan Fisher has made an error with is that your pension payments are every 4 weeks not monthly. This did create a problem here with Thai Immigration when Australia, America, Canada and UK Embassies here stopped issuing income statement letters for their citizens and Thailand wanted proof of monthly income and this is where it became a problem for us until it was shown to Thailand that the Australian pension is paid 4 weekly which is 13 payments per year and not 12 monthly payments

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