Claiming Disability Support Pension overseas

YOURLifeChoices subscriber Deb is keen to head to Samoa to help those affected by last year's earthquake but is concerned about how this will affect her Disability Support Pension.

YOURLifeChoices subscriber Deb is keen to head to Samoa to help those affected by last year's earthquake but is concerned about how this will affect her Disability Support Pension.

Q. Deb
As of April 2010 I will be living in Samoa as a Temporary Resident for up to seven months. At present, my DSP only covers me for 16 weeks. I will not be working whilst here but will be helping in the rebuilding process as a result of the earthquake and tsunami which devastated parts of the country on 29 September.

Am I entitled to an extension of my pension whilst I'm there? I plan to live in Samoa for six months plus each year, as it is much better for my health.

A. Provided by Centrelink
Generally, the Disability Support Pension can be paid up to 13 weeks whilst you are outside Australia. In most cases, payments will cease after the normal 13-week period.

An exception to this rule may apply if you are terminally ill and are leaving Australia permanently. In these cases, Disability Support Pension may be paid for the total period of absence however, your rate may change.

More information about receiving a Centrelink payment overseas is available on the Centrelink website.

If you have not had a Job Capacity Assessment recently you should contact Centrelink. A Job Capacity Assessment is a way of finding out if you can work, how much work you can do and how much help you need to find and keep a job.

It might be a good idea to chat to a Customer Service Adviser to discuss your individual circumstances. You can do this by visiting your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre or you can phone Centrelink International Services on 13 16 73.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Mar 2013
    Hi Deb, I see the post is from some time ago. I was just wondering how your going?

    Unfortunately centrelink wont be much help and you may recieve different advice when asking the same question to different officers. The system is in turmoil and there isnt much support out there for those wanting to help the less advantaged abroad whilst on DSP.

    if applying for UP (unlimited portability) you will be asked to undergo a JCA. under the new rules you may even be told that you will run the risk of loosing your DSP and be put on newstart if you fail the JCA.

    there is a support group for DSP recipients that is swiftly gaining momentum at the moment as people are being hugely affected by these changes. Some people have lost their families over the new rules, others are forced to take drastic measures to suport their families and others have just abandoned thier families with no support from the govt here. its a sad state and I hope things change soon as so many people are being affected.

    if you google DSPoverseas portability you will find the group.

    I know how you feel as I too do volunteer work abroad and am on DSP. I also have a wife and kids abroad, but I am not going to desert them due to the new changes. I would rather eat dogs and cats and starve in Australia just so I can support them!

    good on you for being so kind hearted and careing...
    3rd Apr 2013
    I have applied for u/p dsp and was knocked back on the same grounds as when I appealed and won the first time around.

    I was knocked back as the so called assessor maintained I could work up to eight hrs a week,completely ignoring evidence to the contrary,I appealed and was granted DSP,

    I recently applied for u/p DSP, as I have been deemed permanatly disabled and have claimed two super funds and two minor TPD payouts due to my impairment.

    This to was knocked back,again because a so called assessor ,who is not a medical person as I was told,but a Rehab counsellor,deemed me able to work up to 15hrs.

    Appeal is been launched once again.

    To further complicate issues,from the lips of Hank Jorgensen head honcho at centrelink,to claim basic dsp one has to be based on medical evidence,permanently disabled,treated and managed,impairment STABILISED, and to affect persons for more than two years,and not been able to work at least 15 hrs per week .

    His lips on abc radio last week

    Contradicting all that for which I was knocked back for in the first place.
    3rd Apr 2013
    I know exactly where your coming from hmmmm.
    these accessors overide actual doctors reports yet are not adequitely trained in any mediacal profession. they are only trained to knock people back and try to get them into newstart so they can make job figures better. many of these people are not employable and job network agencies are paid wheter these people get work or not. its a vicious loop[ that ends in disaster with job networks getting all the funds and people with true disabilities being targeted and picked on.
    many have been knocked back for UP yet only a few have got it. I think its disgusting what the govt have done to those who were previously allowed to travel abroad and raise families. then they expect (some have even been advised to) to leave thier families and just desert them, in countries with no govt support.

    whilst i am able bodied im an extremely angry man who has been deserted by a corrupt government that favours the rich and forgets about those with disabilities. Im seriously considering to bring my family back to oz where my wife will be put on acarers pension, ill still be unemployable & on DSP and ill get a family tax benefit from the govt for my kids. I could milk the system for all I can and ill still be angry as im stuck in a country with spoilt kids and no compassion for those with disabilities or mental disorders...

    just go figure Gillard- what will it take to show the masses when you destroy a mans life by taking his family away from him. what will he have left? no family, no kids, just a head full of bad ideas and alot of hatred... what can evolve from such heartless actions by a govt trying to show the public they are doing the right thing?
    when infact they are destroying families and costing the govt more by making these people spend more time in australia in poverty...
    3rd Apr 2013
    also DSP is only paid for 6weeks whilst abroad (under the new system) so please disregard centrlinks previous comment. there are also residency problems: if you spend more than 6 months abroad each year, you may be forced off DSP even if severely disabled. these draconian measures ARE destroying families and costing the govt more in the long run. this is a well known fact.

    I challenge centrlink to reply with a contary perspective...
    but unfortunately centrelink isnt the problem as most staff dont even know whats going on or are trained in the leglislation, thats why on TV they say things that are not consistant with their own policies.

    Its a shame that the actual head of international services doesnt even know the rules that the govt has laid down! where did these people get thier training?

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

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