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