Centrelink payments overseas

Merv would like the Centrelink ruling on payments outside Australia clarified.

Centrelink payments overseas

Merv is planning to travel over the next year but finds the Centrelink ruling on payments outside Australia a little confusing and would like them clarified.

Q. Merv

I would like to find out more information about the six-week limit on travel overseas for carers and pensioners. Is it per calendar year or financial year or do we have to wait a full year before we can go overseas again? We have been told t at it is a maximum of six weeks at a time but can it be multiple six weeks per year ?

A. Provided by the Department of Human Services
The rules which describe when payments may be paid outside Australia are detailed on the Department of Human Services website.

Most payments may be paid for the first six weeks of a temporary absence from Australia. Generally there is no limit on the number of absences you may be paid for during any particular period of time.  Of course, Centrelink needs to ensure that you can be paid for each of those absences.

A few payment types might not be payable during an absence if you are leaving Australia within six weeks of returning from an earlier absence.  You can see if your payment is affected by this rule on our webpage.

If you have many temporary absences in quick succession, it may be decided that you have actually left Australia permanently - that you are no longer 'living in Australia'. Most payments cannot be paid to a person who is not living in Australia.  Find out more about what 'living in Australia' means, and how Centrelink decides who is 'living in Australia’.

If you think your payments might be affected by your planned absence call Centrelink on 13 2300  to discuss your plans.


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    27th Sep 2013
    I guess they dont think you should be able to afford to go overseas.. heaven knows they pay a princley sum..
    27th Sep 2013
    Im more concerned for the poor Mariners receiving their payments from Sri Lanka,Afganistan and Iran..How are they ever going to pay their Light Bill ??
    27th Sep 2013
    Be very careful ! If you work ,as I do , and always advise EVERY thing , including going overseas , ...(only been back 3 weeks) there is bound to be a mess up '! They cancelled me since August , and every year , 2011,12,13 they overpay me , now have a debt to repay of $5500 ,,,! Great system , and every operator speak to has different ways of calculating ! Or doesn't know. !
    27th Sep 2013
    "Most payments cannot be paid to a person who is not living in Australia. "

    Debbie - this is completely wrong - as was the last article about overseas payments.

    Australia has social security agreements with various countries which make it possible to live permanently in those countries whilst drawing the age pension. Also - once having qualified for the age pension people can move to almost any country and continue to claim - however after being away from their permanent home in Australia (for > 6 months I think) that house will no longer be exempt from the assets test. The income and assets tests (the latter being the worse for most people) continue to apply so the person will normally only be eligible again if they put their dosh into a permanent residence in the country they have chosen to live in.

    There are also rules which limit people's ability to claim age pension if they have previously qualified but have not been resident in Australia in the two years leading up to the time of claiming.

    These things I know to be the case - what I would hope to read here is more detail - not stuff that is completely wrong.

    If you have income tax issues you can find out what's what through the extensive information on the ATO's website or for any particular case by asking for a private ruling. With Centrelink those of us ho have paid masses of income tax here over our lifetimes under a deal which we were told at the time represented what folk overseas paid as social security (NI in the UK) and income tax together are now being treated as welfare claimants and snooped on and means-tested and not even provided with the necessary information to plan our way through the arbitrary but undisclosed Centrelink rulebook.
    27th Sep 2013
    Adbob, please believe my post , but if you work at C/link and can fix this issue , as recently as 10,30 this morning , please GO AHEAD & fix it , and take all this stress out of my life , and the DEBT !
    27th Sep 2013
    I've just came back from Brazil where I spent 4 weeks instead of the intended 6 weeks. I had to come back earlier for personal reasons. I advised Centrelink before I left and they said - no worries, you do not need to tell us when you are back because the system is linked to the Customs and the moment your passport is scanned we will know you are here... Beautiful isn't? It was also the time of the year when we have to tell them about the assets and the streaming income.

    While in Brazil I kept receiving the "reminders" about this and decided to do it on-line so I printed the form, filled it, signed, created a PDF file and uploaded. The system gave me a receipt that, thanks heavens, I kept.

    To check on an unrelated matter I called them after I arrived and found out that I was still overseas! After checking the receipt number they found out that I really had sent the forms and all was OK. Also the system was told that I was back in Australia. All is well for the time being...

    Two days ago, again on an unrelated matter, I called them and was told that - my pension had been suspended!!! I jumped on-line and that was true! I would receive half of what I was entitled from next pay...

    After 10 or 15 minutes they found the problem and apologized profoundly for the "mistake" and everything is back to normal now. Or is it? (Please listen the bars of the 5th of Beethoven in the background - Tan, tan, tan tan...)

    So much for hi-tec!

    Moral of the story: always keep the receipt numbers, date and time and name of the atendant. Do not trust the system and keep checking on-line...

    27th Sep 2013
    Go check again Adbob, these things do happen , and Aussie Tuca and myself have receipts & letters & debts which prove us to be correct in how we were dealt with, ! This is a forum for comments , and suggestions !
    27th Sep 2013
    They tinker with the system so much that it is difficult to get a definitive answer about Centrelink rules, and if you go through Teleservice, here's a tip for anyone who has to deal with Centrelink on any level...ALWAYS note the service officer's name and get a receipt number, then WRITE IT DOWN and keep it safe for reference and/or any dispute that may arise. Many of us who are ''lucky that you can afford to go overseas'' (so I was told by the last Centrelink officer I dealt with) do so NOT because we go cruising to exotic places often as in my case it is because we are migrants (I'm 43 years here in Oz) who still have relatives overseas that for whatever reason need us to be in their lives more.
    27th Sep 2013
    I agree with Sconny. I too, am a migrant and worked hard for 40 years in this country that I love. The ocasional overseas trip usually happens with low season air fares. I wish I could go to some "exotic place" and spend a lot of money, if I had it to spend...
    I am surprised with this "you are lucky" attitude. Things have really changed...
    Nan Norma
    27th Sep 2013
    Until recently I would have said if you do the right you will not have a problem with Centrelink. Not anymore. They completely messed things up recently. I informed them of an encrease in my assets and they got it wrong. They blamed me for it. So be VERY careful.
    27th Sep 2013
    I returned at Easter after spending 10 months in Switzerland . My pension was paid into my Australian bank account as usual ( Centrelink offered to pay it into a bank account in that country if I preferred . ) it was all so easy.
    you must speak to the International Services at Centrelink to get the correct advice ,,as most of the local office advice was contradictory .
    Also make sure you get a name and receipt number when speaking to anyone ,

    28th Sep 2013
    You mean to tel me I was LIVING in Australia on my Disability pension? I thought I was just getting by. Do our past PMs get theirs chopped when they spend months travelling on their Gold Card? Gee - that must hurt!
    28th Sep 2013
    Hi , fella, there are thousands, of "poms" pensioners seeking for longer lives in this wonderful country, they bring their UK pensions with them which is far more than Aus pensions,and for which they they deducted from any entitlements.

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