Changes to overseas Centrelink payments

Income support rules for Australians travelling overseas have been tightened.

centrelink, travel, overseas, retirement

The tightening of income support rules for Australians travelling overseas may have an impact on how, and where, you plan to spend your retirement.

Currently, recipients of Government support payments can be overseas for 13 weeks and continue to receive their income support payments. This will be reduced to six weeks from 1 January 2013.

This change will affect the following benefits:

  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Carer Allowance
  • Widow B Pension
  • Wife Pension
  • Widow Allowance
  • Partner Allowance
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Austudy
  • Telephone Allowance
  • Pension Supplement
  • Utilities Allowance
  • Seniors Supplement
  • Clean Energy Supplement
  • Low Income Supplement
  • Pharmaceutical Allowance
  • Rent Assistance
  • Pensioner Education Supplement
  • Concession cards

However, it will not affect recipients of the Age Pension or the Disability Support Pension who have been assessed, under the new rules coming into force on 1 July 2012, as having no future work capacity.

From 1 January 2014, age pensioners who choose to retire or travel for extended periods overseas, will have to have spent 35 years of their working lives in Australia to be eligible to receive the Age Pension. Currently the eligibility is 25 years. From this date should an age pensioner choose to reside overseas for longer than 26 weeks, their pension will be adjusted by how many of the 35 years they resided in Australia while of working age.

Those already living overseas on 1 January 2014 will maintain the 25 years as a base calculation, but should they return to Australia for six months and subsequently leave, they will be subject to the new regulations.

If you are planning on spending an extended period overseas, you should contact a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer on 13 2300 to confirm how this may affect your payments.


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    Pass the Ductape
    29th May 2012
    Unfortunately trying to contact a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer via their website doesn't seem to work as I have tried this serveral times already and received no response to my request - and telephoning Centrelink to speak to anyone except a recorded message, can be likened to striking first prize in the lotto. I sometimes think Centrelink hold off answering the phone deliberately, in the hope that we eventually die whilst still hanging on to the receiver, thereby saving them the trouble of dealing with the situation.
    30th May 2012
    I "Second" statements above.
    When phoning Centrelink I wish I had a "Speaker Phone" then I could go about doing other things while waiting, waiting, waiting on hold. I try to remember to make a cup of coffee *before* making the phone call, otherwise if I leave phone to make the cuppa, then I may miss hearing Centrelink answer my call.
    14th Aug 2012
    Every one should know all about those Pr...s buy now, you are all wasting your time trying to contact them and when you do all you get is LIE'S.

    I am shure it will not be long and going to Tasmania will be deemed as oversease.

    The only good advise I can give, Record all phone call to them.
    5th Sep 2012
    LOL yes Hillbillypete I totally agree that soon going to Tasmania will be deeemed as going overseas. I have actually been wondering when Centrelink or whatever it's called now will try to put the kibosh on anyone on a pension travelling at all and being away from home for extended periods, eg being a Grey Nomad or visiting family and friends around Australia for an extended for thought maybe...
    25th Aug 2012
    previously if you had gone overseas to live and hence become a non-resident then came back to oz to claim the age pension at 65 - you had to remain in oz for 2 years before you could go back oseas and continue to claim the pension
    with the change from 25 to 35 years does anyone know if the 2 year waiting period still applies
    19th Aug 2015
    Well, what if the person has to travel abroad for more than a month due to some emergency or important situations? I think certain allowances that are included in this list have to be revised. And what if the person has to go on a vacation?

    Tory Burch beach tote

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