I am a British pensioner considering moving to Australia to be closer to my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. I am concerned, however, what effect this will have on my pension payments. I have tried contacting your consulate but was left even more confused than ever with their answer. Can you help me understand if this will be financially detrimental? And are there any helpful websites for people like me thinking of making such a big move?
A.Provided by Hank Jongen, Centrelink General Manager
There are a couple of websites you can visit to find out how your situation may be affected by a move to Australia. To find out how your British pension would be affected if you choose to live in Australia, you should talk to the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Work and Pensions about your British pension. The website for the Department is //www.dwp.gov.uk/index.asp
As a prospective migrant from the UK, you should also be aware of the minimum amount of time you have to live in Australia before becoming eligible for Australian Age Pension. Previously, an Agreement between the UK and Australia provided early access to Australia’s social security system, but that Agreement has ceased. Now, you will need 10 years qualifying residence before being eligible to claim Australian Age Pension.
Other Australian payments may be available after living in Australia for two years, for example, Special Benefit may be available for people who are experiencing hardship.
Further information is available from the Australian Department of Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website:
Australia’s social security payments are generally subject to an income and assets test. So should you qualify for a payment, the amount of income and assets you have will affect how much you can be paid. You can find out more about the Age Pension income and assets test by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au I hope you find this information useful.