Will I be eligible for an Age Pension while living overseas?

An expat YourLifeChoices reader living in Thailand wants to fill in some gaps about being paid the Age Pension while living overseas.


Q. Henry

My wife and I took an early retirement when we turned 60 in 2018.

We’ve been living in Thailand since January 2019. We’re both naturalised citizens of Australia. We lived and worked in Melbourne from April 1990 (until 2018).

I will turn 67 in January 2025 and my wife will be 67 in June 2025.

I’ve done some basic research on our eligibility to get the Age Pension, and realised that we may still qualify for part Age Pension income.

Return to Thailand

I’m planning to visit Melbourne in late October 2024 to lodge our Age Pension application and then return to Thailand after the lodgement.

However, the research mechanism I used doesn’t include our current circumstances of retiring and living overseas. We would really like to ensure that we don’t miss out on any necessary parts or requirements in our submission process.

A. Henry has provided us with a lot of details, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that he easily meets the residency requirements as he was a resident for at least 10 years in total. For at least five of these years, there must be no break in your residence.

But the bad news is that he and his wife plan to live in Thailand.

Australia has agreements with several countries to share social security payments but not with Thailand.

The only Asian countries Australia has agreements with is India, Japan and Korea.

So unless Henry and his wife are prepared to return to live in Australia or move to one of these countries, they will not be eligible for an Age Pension and be immediately able to return to live overseas.

To be eligible for an Age Pension you will need to have reached Age Pension age (67). On the day a person claims the Age Pension, generally, they must also be an Australian resident and physically in Australia.

There are exceptions to the residency requirements if you are a refugee.

Overseas travel

If you are granted an Age Pension, you will need to live in Australia for two years. The purpose of this requirement is to discourage people from travelling to Australia just to get an Australian pension to take back overseas.

If you leave Australia (after two years) pension and energy supplements will stop and you will then be eligible for an outside Australia rate.

If you leave Australia during those two years your Age Pension may stop on departure.

Services Australia has specialist staff in Services Australia’s International services team who can help people who intend to move overseas and live overseas.

You can make an appointment to speak to a Centrelink financial information services officer by phoning 132 300 in Australia.

Do you plan to retire overseas? Will Australia’s social security arrangements influence your decision? Why not share your plans in the comments section below?

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Also read: Do I have to tell Centrelink about my superannuation?

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.


  1. There is no way around the 2 year period. I have read many people stuck overseas tried to get this waved during covid as many Australian nationals couldn’t get back into Australia because of the very limited returning cap numbers imposed by the government and the costs associated with that and also the cost of mandatory quarantine. I read one story from an expat who went to the courts on legal advise that he had a solid case over this and lost.
    Best thing to do is come back to Australia or live in a country has shares social security agreements and do the 2 years qualifying that way, or in your case as a couple it will be 2.5 years until both qualify.
    Most people come back to Australia, just easier that way. If you come back to Australia at least you can work until you qualify for the pension.

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