Will I lose my Age Pension if I travel outside Australia?

A YourLifeChoices member plans to live for half of the year in another country. She wants to know how that will affect her eligibility for the Age Pension.

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Q. I have half my family living in Italy and, in my retirement, I would like to spend half a year in Italy and the other half with my family in Melbourne. If I do this, will I disqualify for the Age Pension? I go to Italy to help look after my grandchildren, so it is not in fact a holiday at all. I reach pension age next year.

A. If you leave Australia for less than six weeks, your pension rate won’t change in most cases.

If you leave Australia for more than six weeks, your pension supplement will drop to the basic rate and your energy supplement will stop.

Read: Can travel delay the Age Pension?

If you leave Australia for more than 26 weeks, your rate will depend on how long you were an Australian resident between the ages of 16 and Age Pension age.

If you were an Australian resident for 35 years or more, your rate won’t change in most cases, but if it is less than 35 years, you will get a lower rate in most cases. For example, if you were a resident for 10 years, you will get 10/35ths of your usual rate.

You will need to advise Centrelink if:

  • you will be away for more than six weeks
  • if you get the Age Pension under arrangement with another country
  • you are leaving Australia within two years of coming back to live and started getting the Age Pension since then
  • your partner is still in paid employment
  • you receive an income while living overseas.

Read: Seven tips for living well on the Age Pension

The easiest way to inform Centrelink of your plans is to use an online Centrelink account through myGov. A myGov account may be handy while you are travelling as you can access letters and other services online.

If you need clarification, it’s probably best to make an appointment with a Centrelink financial information services officer, which you can do by calling 132 300.

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Written by Jan Fisher

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