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 [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Written by Janelle Ward

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