12th Dec 2012
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Will I get a pension overseas?
Will I get a pension overseas?

Debbie McTaggart explains whether you are entitled to a pension when travelling or living overseas.

Q. John

I am struggling to make ends meet on the pension. I don’t own my own home and am thinking of moving overseas, either to Thailand or the Philippines. But how will such a move affect my Centrelink entitlements?

A. John, many older Australians burdened with the increasing cost of living in Australia and the struggle to make ends meet on the Age Pension or their savings, are looking to relocate overseas where money tends to go a little further. Of course, if you rely on a pension from the Department of Human Services, then you may have to be careful about where you go and how long you spend there. It is worth noting that the rules on pension payments while you are outside of Australia are due to change on 1 January 2013. As you do not mention which pension payment you receive, below is some guidance on how your payment may be affected based on these changes, however, you should contact Centrelink before making any decisions.

Age Pension
It is possible to get the Age Pension for the whole time you’re overseas, whether you have left Australia on a temporary or permanent basis. If you remain outside Australia for longer than 26 weeks, your pension will be reduced to a proportional rate based on your ‘Australian working life residence’. This is the number of years you have resided in Australia since age 16 to Age Pension age. If you have lived in Australia for 25 years (300 months), then you are paid the full rate of Age Pension to which you are entitled. If, for example, you have only resided in Australia for 20 years, then you will be paid 241/300 of the Age Pension (20x12 plus an extra month). If you leave Australia permanently, the rate of Pension Supplement you receive will reduce, or if leaving on a temporary basis, it will be reduced after six weeks of departure.

For those, however, who have been transferred to or granted an Age Pension less than two years ago, your pension will be stopped when you go overseas. There are plans to increase the amount of years from 25 to 35 under the ‘Australian working life residence’ from 1 January 2014. Those already living overseas on 1 January 2014 will maintain the 25 years as a base calculation, but should they return to Australia for more than six months and subsequently leave, they will be subject to the new regulations.

Disability Support Pension (DSP)
If you have been granted a DSP or transferred to the DSP less than two years ago, then your pension will be stopped. You can be paid the Disability Support Pension (DSP) for six weeks while outside Australia. You may able to receive the DSP for longer if you:

• are terminally ill and are leaving to be with family
• have been assessed in Australia as having no future work capacity, however, the rate you are paid may be reduced.

You may also continue to be paid a DSP for longer than six weeks if:
• you are studying outside Australia as part of a full time Australian course, or
• you are severely disabled and dependent on and living with a person who has been temporarily transferred overseas by their Australian employer.

There are different rules which apply to other payments and these can be found on the website of the Department of Human Services. If the country to which you are moving has an International Social Security Agreement with Australia, then you may be able to receive your payments for longer and at a different rate.

MORE
International Social Security Agreements
Payments outside Australia
Changes due on 1 January 2013





    COMMENTS

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    dolby
    28th Dec 2012
    1:24pm
    For those, however, who have been transferred to or granted an Age Pension less than two years ago, your pension will be stopped when you go overseas.


    I just dont get this rule I retired in 2007 and I worked for 32 years in Australia I if I chose to live in China I would receive the full pension minus the utilities, this is from Centerlink

    So if I had retired in 2010 I would be paid no pension after working 35 years in Australia ??? this is somewhat hard to believe if I went overseas
    Thai Traveller
    28th Dec 2012
    2:10pm
    I think the new changes to length of time worked in Australia are a little strange.. I'm living in Thailand as there is no way I could afford to rent a small 1 bedroom place or flat in Australia.

    By being in Thailand, I am saving Australian taxpayers medical bills, pharmaceutical costs, dental treatment.

    By forcing pensioners who have 'only' worked 34 years or less to have a reduced pension, and possibly not able to move, then all the extra costs will be borne by taxpayers.

    I'm living on my pension only, but making do so far.
    dolby
    28th Dec 2012
    4:07pm
    If you returned to live in Australia and were granted or transferred to Age Pension within the last two years, you will not be able to receive your Age Pension outside the country. After you return, to be paid outside the country, you must have been living in Australia for two years since your last arrival for residence. If you travel to a country that Australia has a social security agreement with, you may be able to continue to get your payment under that social security agreement.
    dolby
    28th Dec 2012
    4:07pm
    I have placed the above which now makes sense
    mariac
    28th Dec 2012
    5:53pm
    My husband and I are on a disability pension and we are thinking of returning to our country of origin permanently. Will we be allowed to keep our pension?
    Gr8ful
    1st Jan 2013
    11:21am
    Disability Pension is usually granted to people that need support of some kind, will you get that same support and healthcare in your country of origin and if your benefits are reassessed and cease in the future would you then be able/eligible to return to Australia?
    niemakawa
    28th Dec 2012
    6:31pm
    I will be retiring in Aug 2014 and intend to live overseas for a minimum of 5 years soon. According to this article "For those, however, who have been transferred to or granted an Age Pension less than two years ago, your pension will be stopped when you go overseas. " Does this mean I will not be entitled to a pension or have it stopped. Doesn't seem right as I would have worked for 42 Years in Australia and paid taxes in each year of my residence here. Can anyone enlighten me please. Thank you
    MarciaO
    28th Dec 2012
    8:23pm
    What about women who stop work to raise families, and then resume work again - where does that leave them, should they wish to move overseas for a length of time? I would assume that the years they spent with the family, won't be taken into account...
    Nan Norma
    28th Dec 2012
    8:56pm
    It says resided in Australia, not worked in Australia.
    Abe
    28th Dec 2012
    8:58pm
    Typical Labor stuff-up. They should not be able to treat people the way they do. Do they cut back on their own pay, or superannuation? NO WAY, JOSE !!! That bitch gave herself a huge pay-rise not long back, and all her cronies got a nice back-hander as well.They all want jailing, I say. All you idiots who voted them IN want your arses kicked, BIG-TIME.
    jaywalker
    30th Dec 2012
    6:49pm
    I didn't notice any of the Liberal or Green MPs giving back their pay rise. Mr Abbott now gets $91,834 or $1766 a week - surely he should be setting an example by giving it to charity? No?
    Actual Cat
    2nd Jan 2013
    4:26pm
    Heck Abe, Labor will always do a bit more for the workers than the Libs.
    BTW, yes, politicians earn a good wage, however, there are plenty banking & corporate types earning far more with no thought at all for the community.
    If you want to see an insight into why some politicians enter the bear pit, then watch a few episodes of Annabel Crabb's Kitchen Cabinet (ABC TV).
    You may be surprised.
    Nan Norma
    28th Dec 2012
    9:00pm
    I can understand the disability pension being stopped after a time. I knew someone on a DSP who returned to his home country got married had a couple more children, worked has an artist and still kept his pension.
    Oldmac
    30th Dec 2012
    9:49am
    I am under the "2 year Rule" regarding Age Pension. I understand that if I take an overseas holiday for say 6 weeks during the 2 years my Age Pension will cease during that time but be reinstated on my return. Does the 2 year period start allover again even if I have maineted my residence in Australia?
    cougar
    30th Dec 2012
    10:31am
    The idiots whom 'ill-informed' Ozzies' voted into power, 2007 & then again in 2010, have brought all this upon us! They are idiots who welcome the 'illegal refugees' into our country with open arms; now to pay for all their mistakes are punishing genuine Australians. Pensions, as above; Aged care; Medical; Defence. If they are not removed in 2013, especially Ms Juliar, we are doomed.
    cougar
    30th Dec 2012
    10:32am
    Apologies, forgot to mention the LABOR government in my little rave!
    niemakawa
    30th Dec 2012
    10:49am
    I agree Labor have let us all down. Unfortunatley we have already reached the point of no return. Labor has thrown all true Australians over the "fiscal cliff" intent on meeting "her" obligations to the International community. Locals have been neglected and abandoned in the whole process. I have always voted Liberal as although their policies are not always perfect they encourage everyone to make a real contribution to Australia. Alas they are facing an uphill battle, to return Australia to a once proud Nation, when they are relected in 2013.
    eeleeanne
    30th Dec 2012
    11:39am
    macjam, it seems you are full of hate for the p.m because she's female. would you feel the same if it was a male? doesn't sound like it! the main people who want to live overseas on a full aussie pension have usually come from poor countries , and the pension makes them fairly well off there! as things are much cheaper there, there could be a case for a smaller pension for those who retire there. i still didnt understand the rules, such as what happens if you come home for a funeral, etc. does this count as moving back? and what countries have arrangements ... i was born in aus. to english parents . if i wanted to go for a longish holiday such as 6-12 months to catch up with relies and see a bit of the country, would i loose the pension?
    niemakawa
    30th Dec 2012
    11:51am
    You have made the wrong assumption. The PM maybe a woman but that is beside the point she is just plain incompetent and has brought disaster to this Nation. Maybe you are a woman always beating your drum and hate men.! Who knows!
    Oldmac
    30th Dec 2012
    12:32pm
    If you are on Age Pension and lived in OZ 30 years you can get your pension indefinitely overseas. Therefore coming back makes no difference except for Suppliments. After 26 weeks overseas, you may slip back to Base Pension rate
    jaywalker
    30th Dec 2012
    6:33pm
    Yes, we go overseas for 7-8 weeks every year and as long as we tell Centrelink we are going, we still get our pensions paid into our account. The six-week rule doesn't apply to the aged pension, only to those on Youth Skills.
    Johnny
    31st Dec 2012
    1:21pm
    I was recently forwarded a website for living in a holiday resort town in Cambodia. The information says we could have $200pw to spend from your pension after rent. This would go a long way in Cambodia where a good feed costs about $2 or $3 and a large beer costs 50 cents. It sounds good and I am checking it out with the idea of going in March for six or twelve months. If I like it I might stay there. The site is asianretirementliving.com if you want to check out the videos and read up some more. I hope this helps.
    niemakawa
    4th Jan 2013
    9:43pm
    Surely the Government is conning pensioners. If you born overseas and worked and maybe entitled to a pension, regardless of the amount, then Centrelink will hound you to make sure you contact your Country of origin to find out if you have any entitlement to a pension from them. So surely the same rule must apply that if you decide to live in another Country then your Australian pension cannot be stopped ( apart from some incidentals) without the Australian Government contravening International Agreements with the Country you have chosen as your abode. Shame on the Australian Government
    MacGyver
    8th Jan 2013
    12:33pm
    Debbie you have me confused because in one sentance you say. It is possible to get the Age Pension for the whole time you'r overseas, weather you have left Australia on a temporary or permanent basis. Then you go on to say For those, however, who have been granted an Age Pension less than two years ago, your pension will be stoped when you go overseas. I have worked and paid my taxes in Australia for 45+ years and now if I move or have a extended holiday overseas I will be penalized and lose my pension simply because it was granted to me less than two years ago. I wonder who voted for these new regulations ?
    Oldmac
    8th Jan 2013
    1:04pm
    MacGyver,
    yes it is confusing! If U return from living overseas and get pension U will not get overseas until 2 years in Australia I returned in May 2012 at age 69 and granted pension. When I went overseas for 6 weeks in Nov my pension ceased while oversease and reinstated on return. After May 2014, my Age Pension is then fully portable.
    Trish
    26th Feb 2013
    6:48pm
    I feel like I'm on that show 'An Idiot Abroad' here's why. I have been on DSP for 10 years after becoming ill in the early 1990's. I fought for DSP for 13years before it was granted but not until I lost everything. Now 10 years on and 57 I decided I was so sick of struggling to make ends meet I was going to have the adventure of a lifetime. I had never travelled overseas before so of course there's so much I don't know.I sold everything I could including my car and stored what little was left, so was glad to find out that Centrelink would continue paying reduced DSP for 11 weeks.I took so much advice that my head still spins. Here is some for others, Travel Insurance is NOT a simple process, I was robbed of my wallet containing credit cards, pension cards Qld drivers License etc over 2 weeks ago and the process has been harrowing, no callback or support from Ins co, - Emergency Visa is a nightmare there is no chip on the card or 3 digit security number on back so I can't book a daytour or flight or buy anything online or over the phone and have to show my passport for ID at every store. I've talked to several people at my bank to have my new card sent here to pick up and STILL waiting for a reply. I am unable to contact Centrelink by email as there is a glitch in the emailing process for overseas. I have an opportunity to do some freelance writing but can't find out how applying for a work permit in Malaysia will affect DSP other than the usual declaring earnings can anyone shed some light?

    ALL IN ALL I am having an amazing experience, have met some of the loveliest people and because it's so affordable am able to do things I can never afford in Aust (Like going out to dinner for A$5)
    niemakawa
    26th Feb 2013
    7:04pm
    If you have the opportunity to live permanently in Malaysia, without losing any of your entitlements, I would encourage you to do so. Australia has very little to offer pensioners and the costs of living is astronimical. In a couple of years, when I receive my pension, to which I am duly entitled, I will be leaving Australia for more pleasant surroundings, where life is a place to enjoy. Have you tried contacting the Australian Embassy in Maylaysia, they maybe able to provide some advice on your particular situation? Good luck.
    Trish
    26th Feb 2013
    8:10pm
    Thanks Macjam for your encouragement and advice. Here's what will happen - I will have to return to Aust at end of Mar for a few months I will look at my options then. I already know that if i return here I will receive DSP for 6 weeks and then be cut off entirely if I don't return. If something goes wrong and I have to return to Australia after that I will have to start the whole DSP process application over. This is very daunting as you can imagine. A job is the only way for me to stay here - I love working and would love to feel like a contributing member of this community so am lucky that writing isn't physically taxing for me and can sometimes be done at home in my PJ's. Cannot get a work visa without a job and visa versa a bit confusing (for me) but will work it out.
    trevlam
    8th Apr 2013
    1:29pm
    I have worked and still paying tax in Australia since 1968 to 2014. I am sick of no gooders rorting our system while genuine people are penalised. I have a serious illness in Multiple Sclerosis and have lost many wonderful friends due to MS. I made several trips, with Aids as I cannot do anything for myself, to the Philippines where I got some improvements to the quality of my life. I moved here 2 years ago and feel better largely due to the Philippines friendly positive nature which is so much better than MSQ.

    Now I find my life is seriously threatened having to return to Oz for 2 years for the pension. The Oz govt is penny pinching S..T
    lanview
    4th Oct 2013
    9:14am
    I am a member of the defence force (for the past 23 yrs). I am thinking of retiring soon, and moving to Thailand. Now I am a member of DFRDB (Defence Force Retirement and Death Benifits), on retirement I will get a pension for the rest of my life of around $407/week. What I want to know is will I be taxed on that if I move overseas, or will that pension be affected/stopped
    * diamond
    7th Jan 2014
    4:26pm
    I'm returning to Canada and would like to know how long exactly I can stay before my pension is cut. I was hoping to stay for 6 months. My first visit was in July of 2012 for 2 weeks. Then I wasn't on Age Pension. I'm now living on my own and divorce is eminent. I made a few friends there and was hoping to travel and see them and the beautiful sights of Canada. Please can you help me. I have also recently purchased my relocatable home so any hints on my travel plans would be much appreciated, thank you.
    Choco
    31st Jul 2014
    1:49pm
    I recently returned (17th July 2014) to Australia after being overseas for a number of years.-Am 69 years old,an Australian citizen,lived in Australia continuously for 44yrs and worked in Australia for 32 years.
    I have not previously applied for an age pension but under the recent changes to the age pension laws do i qualify to receive one and what /if any are the repercussion if i decide to go overseas again.
    Oldmac
    31st Jul 2014
    3:19pm
    If U return from living overseas and get pension, which U should get immediately, U will not get overseas until 2 years in Australia I returned in May 2012 at age 69 and granted pension. When I went overseas for 6 weeks in Nov 2012 my pension ceased while overseas and reinstated on return. After May 2014, my Age Pension is then fully portable payable overseas indefinitely ( Some allowances do get cut after lengthy absence)


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