Can you apply for the pension if you have lived overseas?

Alan is returning to Australia after living overseas and wants to claim the pension.

Can you apply for the pension if you have lived overseas?

Alan is returning to Australia after living overseas for 35 years and wants to claim the pension.


Q. Alan
I have worked and lived overseas for the last 35 years. I am 67 years old and I will be returning to Australia with my wife and two children. I am also looking to buy a 20-hectare property in the rural area north of Perth. Can you advise if I can still apply for the pension?

A. As long as you have lived in Australia as a citizen or permanent resident for a continuous period of 10 years, or for several periods which total over 10 years and include a continuous period of five years in total, you will be able to apply for the Age Pension.

However, as you are returning to Australia from another country, you will be subject to the two-year residency rule.

This means you must stay in Australia for two years after you become eligible for the pension.

If you leave Australia during this period, your pension will be cancelled, and you will have to reapply when you next return.

You can, however, take a holiday as long as you are considered a resident of Australia. Centrelink will advise if your absence is considered temporary and how long you can remain outside of Australia before your Age Pension is affected.

The property you are looking to purchase will also have an impact on your eligibility for the Age Pension.

Normally, only two hectares of land on the same title as your main home are exempt from the assets test.

This means that the remaining 18 hectares of your property purchase will be included in your assets test, which may have an effect on whether you are eligible for the pension.

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The RetirePlanner™ tool has all the information you need.

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    Karl Marx
    26th Aug 2019
    Chris B T
    26th Aug 2019
    Apply for CRN with Centrelink and depending of your Income Level apply for Low Income Card and Seniors Card as well.
    These will ease The Burden Until able to apply for Pension unless They Have 2 year Residency as well.
    26th Aug 2019
    The reply 're Alan fails to mention that the pension will continue to be paid if Alan went to live in a country with which Australia has an International Agreement
    26th Aug 2019
    And if Alan is able to claim a pension from the country he has been living and working in for 35 years, he will have to do so before he will be considered for an Australian Government aged pension. This income will then be deducted from anything Centrelink asseses, lowering the possible pension amount he might get.
    26th Aug 2019
    I left Australia about 25 years ago when I lost faith in the equity, consideration and accountability of the bureaucracy. Faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats are always willing to make self-serving, thoughtless and inconsiderate decisions which make them look good in terms of reducing government expenditure; especially when the consequences will not apply to themselves.

    It looks a lot like that self-service arrogance has not changed.

    The problem is exacerbated by the fact that greedy, self-serving bean-counters in positions of power need to justify their expensive office, salaries and other benefits (like a big super payout) by extracting or withholding money from others.

    I helped accelerate the development of a significant not-for-profit in Australia by firing 2/3 of the accountants and passing responsibility for financial success to the operational staff. They did a far superior job and made all the right choices based on organisational purpose and community benefit. Because of this, the organisation flourished financially and created more benefits for a greatly expanded range of clients.

    Let's face it, a 14yo with a simple calculator and pen, or some accounting software, can do 90% of accounting tasks. The rest require judgement, intelligence and human compassion. That's unlikely to come from a high paid, self-serving adult with the intelligence of a 14yo who's principal capability is mastery of a simple calculator and the ability to write numbers in columns.

    If the problem of inhuman treatment is to be addressed, financial management cannot be left to accountants. It needs to be the responsibility of real people with judgement, human compassion, insight, sensitivity and wisdom. People who know and feel the problem because they are engaged in dealing with the human consequences it creates.

    Not some arrogant, faceless, bureaucrat and/or accountant in a government agency, comfortably removed from the reality people are facing.

    To solve the problem, at least halve the bureaucracy and especially the accountants involved. So those remaining do not have time to consider how to exploit everyone else for their personal advancement and financial advantage.
    26th Aug 2019
    Nope, nothing has changed deepblue still as corrupt as ever
    27th Aug 2019
    The 2 year residency rule is a killer.
    I worked in Oz for over 35 years before relocating overseas. I am therefore, on that basis, eligible for the pension...but no. I have to go back to Oz and stay there for 2 years !!! Can anyone tell me the logic behind this rule?
    27th Aug 2019
    Dyadco I believe the sole aim of the 2 year residency rule was to stop people who had moved oversea and then returned to get the pension then leave. I suspect that, after introducing the rule someone pointed out that it was in contravention of International Agreements so they allow pensioners to live in the countries with Agreements without spending the 2 years in Australia. But BEWARE !. If they conclude you have returned to Australia with the intention of getting the pension then moving overseas they have power to deny you are an Australian resident for the purposes of the pension.
    On a plain reading of one of the Centrelink websites the time spent living in an Agreement country counts towards the 2 year residency rule. I doubt that is the intention, just sloppy editing.
    If you do go to an Agreement country, depending on which one it is, you may be able to live in a non Agreement third party country as the particular Agreement may provide that is possible under that Agreement.
    As I understand it the 2 year residency rule produces an unfair result. If someone comes from a non Agreement country, e,g China at age 30 and works for 35 years and on turning 65 they apply and get a full pension, they could leave immediately to live in China. But Dyadco would have to fulfil the 2 year residency before going to live in China.
    27th Aug 2019
    Dear Wondering,
    many thanks for your reply.
    There are many factors and undoubtedly, the government were trying, albeit in a clumbsy manner, to address concerns.
    But for me, here in the UK, a NON-AGREEMENT country (if you can believe this) its simply a no go.
    I called Centrelink and spoke to them, they said that I had to return to Oz for the 2 years.
    Its an impossibility, not just for financial reasons but for personal/family reasons too.
    Anyway, thanks for replying !!
    27th Aug 2019
    The agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) ended on 1 March 2001.
    27th Aug 2019
    The UK Agreement was cancelled because the UK stopped cost of living adjustments on expat pensions.

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