Changes to Centrelink payments overseas

Ron wishes to stay in Philippines as cannot live on the DSP in Australia.

YOURLifeChoices member Ron has decided that living overseas permanently is the best way to make his Disability Support Pension go further, but he is worried about the changes to Centrelink payments out with Australia.

Q. Ron
I am looking to live overseas permanently and return as currently required every 13 weeks to Australia.  I am wishing to stay in Philippines simply because I cannot live on the Disability Support Pension in Australia.

I know we are fortunate to receive government assistance, but I have worked since I was 15 in Australia and now I am 61. I paid heaps of tax and GST over the years, but I think the government care factor is pretty low in that regard.  I have read your report several times and of course will go and see Centrelink on my return at the end of the month.  I was assessed as totally incapacitated 18 months ago due to chronic disc degeneration in my spine.  

Am I reading your article correctly by assuming I will have to be reassessed?  Or does my assessment stand, but still be required to return six weekly.  This makes it financially unviable. 

A. Ron, It would be beneficial for you to contact Centrelink direct, as it will have details of your individual circumstances and will give you the best advice.

However, as a quick reference, unless you have been assessed as having no future work capacity, then from 1 January 2013, you will have to return to Australia every six weeks. Under the new rules which came into force on 1 July 2012, you can have your capacity for work reassessed if you do not meet these requirements. If you are assessed as having no future work capacity, then you can remain outside Australia indefinitely.

I hope this clarifies your position.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    14th Aug 2012
    The unlimited portability looks is if it may be fairly hard to acquire.
    As Debbie suggests talk to Centrelink and if you think you may not qualify you may consider talking to your Federal Member of Parliament about it.
    14th Aug 2012
    Incredible! An incapacitated Pensioner who has to move O/S so he can live a "normal" Life. Shame on our Government.
    14th Aug 2012
    I have retired to Thailand, where I can live very comfortably (Chiang Mai) on $2,000 a month, but I could live here for a lot less. Hospice facilities here are available @ about $1,000 a month, all inclusive. A burial plot will cost you $500. There is no way in the world I could survive in Oz at the moment, with all the costs. And, coming from regional Australia, it is lovely to have access to unlimited wireless here, provided within 2 days, @ the cost of $20 a month.
    Thai Traveller
    14th Aug 2012
    I've also retired to Chiang Mai. The people are polite, no screaming, angry drivers, the food is great, and most importantly, I can afford to live in a nice house, eat out, meet interesting people. My monthly rent is less than a week's worth in Oz, and as I'm number 9000 or thereabouts in the QLD state housing list, why wait.

    As Numa says, internet is cheap, and my last monthly power bill was 320 baht ($11.00).
    14th Aug 2012
    I think the secret of an easy retirement is to own your own house by the time you retire!
    If you don't have to pay rent, the rates on your house are only half price for pensioners, so you can live very well on a Government pension. Which we do on $2300 a month !
    18th Oct 2012
    Thats OK if there is two of you, I am a single aged pensioner and all my pension goes on keeping my home, if anything goes wrong I am looking at selling and downsizing ..the single pension does not account for rates,rego,insurance etc I would love to relocate to somewhere and have a quality of life, but how can one return to Australia every six weeks, thats stupid, where does the fare come from...what a joke.
    15th Aug 2012
    i am an Australian citizen ,I worked in Australia for over 20 years, I now live in the USA,Florida I am 63 yrs old, and I retired early to look after my parents, who have now passed away, when can I start claiming my Australian pension as my savings are getting pretty low now.?
    15th Aug 2012
    Oly you can return to Australia and claim the Age pension when you are 65 but you cannot leave the country for 2 years after that.
    15th Aug 2012
    I am interested in your statement.... "If you don`t have to pay rent, the rates on your house are only half price for Pensioners!"

    I own my own house and am a Pensioner, ....I can assure readers that I pay the full rating as levied by Local Council, which has increased by over 300% since "forced" Amalgamation. The projected increase again for this year is 3.7% with a 10% discount if paid within 28 days!.....this is one of the "joys" of living in Queensland and I cannot understand why so many people from the South are flocking up here, as it is now one of the most expensive States to live in, everything considered!
    15th Aug 2012
    I am a pensioner 75 years old and it is tough because we are burdened with increasing costs not just by Federaland State Governments but also by local Councils. However, we are lucky getting a pension the problem is being able to live on it especially if a person does not own their own home and are single. I live on my pension and help children as well but I do worry about the future of being able to continue. In another country (I have visited some, mostly poorer countries than our own) I could, if I were able to get my Australian pension be able to live better myself and at the same time help more children.
    It would all depend on what country I moved to for CentreLink have just a few countries where they will pay the pension and then for only thirteen weeks; pathetic isn't it and silly isn't? It would cost them less for me to live in another land and be a good ambassador for Australia. Some of the countries I have visited see Australian men as pedaphiles, it is an image we need to change if we want to have infuence in the world's affairs.
    15th Aug 2012
    Hi there

    I spoke to Centrelink on 13 July 2012 in regards to the time limit that you are allowed out of Australia if you are on a Disabily pension. It was decided in the 2012/2013 budget that from 1 January 2012 you were only allowed to be out of the country for 6 weeks at a time BUT Centrelink checked into this for me and as at 13 July 2012 this ruling had not gone through Legislation at that time. Is there anyone on at Simplifying LifeChoices that can look into this please and see if it has been legislated ot not.. Thanks
    15th Aug 2012
    Sorry My last post shoulkd have said that from 1 January 2013 not 2012 ...
    19th Aug 2012
    Hi I have Lupus SlE,Fibromyaglia,Thyroid and Sjogrens Syndrone...There is No cure for any of my conditions ...I have suffered with long term illeness for 11 years being on a DSP and my partner on a carer Pension....I am travelling O/S with my partner and carer for 12 weeks without OUR pensions being reduced...My Question is Do I fall under the old centrelink rules that i can travel out of the country for 13 weeks at a time? because I am a long term Dsp...
    Thank you for your help Regards Kat
    19th Aug 2012
    It appears that All DSP recipients will be subject to the new 6 week portability rule from 1st Jan next year unless they apply for unlimited portability under the new (30/06/2012) legislation.
    19th Aug 2012
    This is rowette from a post a couple before you.. Do you know that the new legislation for the 1 January 2013 has been passed a syet,, When I spoke to Centrelink on 13 july this new ruling had not yet been legisalated.
    20th Aug 2012
    Thank you for your reply have a wonderful day
    28th Sep 2012
    Hi! i would like to know also, like Rowette, if the legislation has been passed through. And if it was..... how long we will have to remain in Australia before we can go back overseas?

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles