Will residency rule change hurt you?

Editor’s note: As of 4 July 2018, this rule change remains subject to pending legislation.

On 1 July, new residency rule legislation relating to the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension takes effect. Steve asks if there is provision for appeal.


Q. Steve
My partner has been an Australian resident since the mid-1980s and a citizen since the mid-1990s. Because of work reasons and family issues in the UK, she finds herself in a situation where she will not be eligible for the Age Pension when she retires in seven years because she will not have had 10 consecutive years as a full-time resident. The maximum she has had is eight. She has always worked in Australia and has never collected Centrelink benefits. Is there any way she can appeal this?


A: Under the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Payment Integrity) Bill 2017, a person who qualifies for the Age Pension or Disability Support Pension (DSP) will, from 1 July 2018, be required to have:

  • 10 continuous years of Australian residence including at least five years during their Australian working life, or
  • 10 continuous years of Australian residence and proof they have not received activity-tested income support for cumulative periods of five years or more, or
  • 15 years of continuous Australian residence.


Residence during a person’s working life is the number of years a person has resided (lived permanently) in Australia between the age of 16 and Age Pension age.

Existing exemptions to the residence requirements for Age Pension and DSP stay the same.

Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen says if someone disagrees with the outcome of a decision about their Centrelink payment they can ask for a formal review.

Do you know about the upcoming residency rule changes? Do they affect you?

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

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Financial 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.

Janelle Ward
Janelle Wardhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/janellewa
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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