Will overseas trip to visit mum affect Age Pension?

Sandra is desperate to visit her mother overseas, but fears that will delay pension.

Will trip affect Age Pension?

I am 70 and I arrived in Brisbane from South Africa in mid-December 2009, so I will only be eligible for Centrelink in December 2019, due to the 10-year residency rule.

I have had some part-time jobs here, but due to ill-health I have few savings.

In June 2017, I had part of my colon and my pancreas and spleen removed in two big ops five days apart. The doctors recommended that I quit my job as, without my spleen, I am very susceptible to infection. I’ve tried to get a job from home, but so far nothing. I have cut expenses to a minimum – no car, no home internet, no takeaway meals or outings, etc.

I still have to wait until December 2019 before I can get an Age Pension.

My mum lives overseas and is 90. She wants to see me as she can’t travel. If I get the go-ahead from the doctors to visit for about three weeks, would I jeopardise my pension?

I have sent a message twice to Centrelink but to date haven’t spoken to anyone.

A. You are allowed to travel during your 10-year residency period. Centrelink will most likely consider the three weeks as a vacation and may add the three weeks on to your 10 years; that is, you will be eligible after 10 years and three weeks. For at least five of these years, there must be no break in your residence.

You can make an appointment to speak to a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer at any time, regardless of whether you're a Centrelink customer or not.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The RetirePlanner™ tool has all the information you need.


    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    7th Jan 2019
    Almost a prison sentence they may add time overseas to the ten year residency period. So for ten years don't take a holiday overseas. Just stay here and forget you ever had family overseas. If this is correct and they take time off for those who are not born here it is ridiculous.
    7th Jan 2019
    Yes - its quite cruel. All because some of our new immigrants are abusing our pension system.
    7th Jan 2019
    if your white lady forget it...50 years ago when I came here it was the 'lucky country and a fair go for everybody' now its the MEAN country and getting meaner and if your white you have to throw yourself to your knees and apologise for being so...and dont ever say anything about this African crap they keep importing running amok in our suburbs...just be a good little girl stay in your little home and don't rock the boat...come on all you liberal lefties have a go at me for being a bigot because I've dared to tell the truth
    7th Jan 2019
    I totally agree with everything you have said - and good on you for stating fact.
    7th Jan 2019
    I can't believe they get welfare while I worked for close to 45 years sometimes two jobs and have had my entitlements stolen by Hockey and Abbott. Send them to work and they'll have no time to run amok.
    7th Jan 2019
    Welcome to Australia the Mean country in the world ..... and yes I remember that Lucky country so peaceable clean and practically no crime ..... sleep with the doors open to get air flow because was to hot ... walk around anywhere after 10 PM no worries mate all good and relax walking on the beach
    I'am sorry but I forgot the name of that country ???? can you help my memory please
    7th Jan 2019
    You must let Centrelink know. Their database is linked to customs and they will cut off the pension immediately if you have not let them know.
    A friend of mine was fined $800 for a short trip back to the States to see her family. $800 on a pension is a killer. It seems wrong that pensioners are virtually in exile from family.
    Thai Traveller
    7th Jan 2019
    Before a recent trip to China, I notified Centrelink, and then my bank. No problems at all.

    I also found out that I could do another 6 weeks during the year, which is the maximum time allowed away before the pension and allowances are reduced.

    The bank notification was so that they knew I'd be using my cards overseas.
    7th Jan 2019
    Yes but this days you do not have to advice Centrelink they know withing minutes when you leave or arrive because the link with immigrations and that is reported into your Gov. account just check next time you go Overseas ..... and yes after 6 weeks the pension is reduced to the bare minimum and all other services and extra payments that you may be receiving are cancelled until you return then in some cases you have to go to Centrelink for an appointment to get all back
    7th Jan 2019
    So after just 10 years of residency at age 70, not working for much of that period, availing oneself of major medical attention someone can apply for the age pension! And then whines about maybe having to wait three more weeks if they choose to go overseas on holiday! Wow!

    I thought clearly mistakenly that aged arrivals had to be self funding. Even people who come here earlier and work for 30 years cannot apply for a full pension. They would get 30/35ths, or so I thought!
    7th Jan 2019
    A pension is not welfare.

    Now is the season for discontent, so do something about it!
    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.
    8th Feb 2019
    We were one of the first countries to introduce a universal pension.
    That has been scraped by recent governments as considered too expensive
    We are supporting too many immigrants who have not had time to contribute much but still end up on the full pension.
    Born here and worked all my life and now dependent on the scary fluctuations of the share market often ending up with less than a pensioner wage.

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