What happens to your pension if you get married and travel?

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John wants to know what happens to his overseas pension payment if he gets married.


Q. John
I spend more than six months a year overseas and I qualify to be paid my pension (with extras taken off) for all the time I’m out of the country. I have a friend whose pension is reduced by two-thirds after six months overseas. We want to get married, live together and travel together. We would then receive a couple pension. Will Centrelink reduce our pension after six months?

A. I can understand your confusion, but it is important to remember that when referring to the Age Pension you can be paid at the couple’s rate or the single’s rate, but you are still assessed individually, particularly when it comes to the rules regarding overseas pension payments.

So, if you get married you will both move from the single’s rate to the couple’s rate, assuming you still meet the eligibility requirements as a couple (if you both own your own property and retain the two properties you may not be eligible for the pension as a couple).

While you will see a change in the rate of your pension payment, when you move overseas, that pension payment will continue to see minimal change when you spend six months or more overseas (the payment will still drop to the basic rate and you will lose the energy supplement as you have mentioned).

Your partner’s pension payment will continue to reduce by two-thirds when she spends six months or more overseas as was the case previously.

Her pension is reduced to a proportional rate based on her Australian working life residence, which is the number of years she has resided in Australia since age 16 to Age Pension age.

You have obviously lived in Australia for 35 years or more, which is why your rate doesn’t reduce, but your partner has possibly lived in Australia for around one-third of her working life, which is why she has her payment reduced.

Have you recently married? Did you have pension concerns about the arrangement?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 4
  1. 0

    I hope they fully understand that the couple rate is lower than two single rates and their combined Assets and Income are taken into account.

    • 0

      Yes – a great shame as it totally discourages seniors from forming new relationships with all of the non-financial benefits which can be associated with being part of a couple.

    • 0

      Would not rock the boat myself, cannot see a reason for people on the age pension to get married. I know couples who have done the opposite (getting separated) for that extra $10’000 a year 2 single pension payments will bring. Never had any problems going overseas apart from losing the pension card after 6 weeks abroad but it is useless overseas at any rate.

  2. 0

    II am making a comment about pensioners not receiving a pay rise in september.P ay rises are based on the consumer price index for pensioners and jobseekers yet there is 2 standards,JOBSEEKERS received a %100 pay rise while pensioners nothing.WHY?In the last 6 months pensioners received 2 payments of $750 and $215 cost of living concession that is it.
    jobseekers have received 1x$750 plus 13 payments of an extra $550=$7250 plus $715 cost of living allowance.Jobseekers are now getting paid hundreds of $$ more than carers disabled and pensioners.WHY



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