Michael is considering the financial implications of separating for the Age Pension and wants to know what it takes to be considered separated.
My wife is a recent permanent resident to Australia. I am on the Age Pension. The policy related to married couples with one partner working seems to be punitive and non-productive. My pension is significantly reduced now that I’m married, and almost everything my wife earns gets 50 per cent cut off my pension.
We are considering the financial benefits of separating and maintaining two dwellings, one in her name and one in mine. Do we need to divorce to convince Centrelink that we are separated? Are we allowed to be ‘friends’ after separation? What is your advice?
A. If your separation is legitimate you don’t have to be divorced to be considered separated, but I would strongly advise against trying to manipulate this situation under false pretences. There are very stiff penalties for claiming false relationship status. Consequences can include jail time and being forced to pay back any benefits to which you were not entitled.
If a couple claim to be separated they must establish that:
- they are living apart either permanently or indefinitely, and
- there has been an estrangement or breakdown in their relationship.
Generally, a physical separation as well as an emotional separation between the couple is required.
If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to email@example.com and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.
Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The PensionChecker™ 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.
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