Age Pension and residential status

Bruce has been an Australian resident for 35 years and, although he hasn’t been a citizen for that time, he wants to know if he can still apply for an Age Pension when he is of retirement age.


Q. Bruce
There is an implication in information you provide that one must be a citizen to be eligible for the Age Pension.

I have lived here for about 35 years mostly as a permanent resident and not as a citizen, but believe I may eventually be entitled to a partial or full Age Pension should my circumstances meet the requirements.

I am not yet of pensionable age, being about 12 months away under the age-based requirements. However, my wife is five years older than I am, so is she entitled to claim an Age Pension or is that based on our combined assets and income?

Is my wife able to claim the Work Bonus, as she works on a casual basis and earns approximately $25k per annum but does not claim an Age Pension? Or is the Work Bonus only applicable to those on an Age Pension?

A. Firstly, your observation is correct, you can claim an Age Pension if you have lived in Australia as a Permanent Resident, you do not need to be an Australian Citizen.

Your wife can make a claim for an Age Pension, however, she will be assessed as part of a couple and both your income and assets will be assessed. If she is not eligible for an Age Pension, she may still receive a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which can be quite valuable owing to the associated concessions.

The Work Bonus is only available to those on the Age Pension, as it essentially reduces the amount of income assessed when determining Age Pension eligibility.


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.

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

Related articles:
How does an overseas pension work?
Can I get an Age Pension?
Centrelink’s residency requirements

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