How Age Pensions are paid when returning to Australia

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I am an Australian citizen who has lived in South America on a semi-permanent basis since 2010. However, I have lived in Australia and paid taxes since 1981, around 31 years. I returned three months ago when I turned 65 to file a claim, and stated that my permanent address would be my son’s house in Brisbane. I have now returned to South America only to find that my claim has been rejected. I have a few questions:

If I were to return next week and stay in my son’s house again, would that entitle me to claim residence there? And could I apply to the first date of claim 15 May 2017 ?

How often would I have to return to Australia to claim the Age Pension during the first two years?

I also have Irish citizenship but I only lived in Ireland as a child, so I cannot receive an Irish pension.

If I returned to Australia tomorrow and lodged an Age Pension claim and remained in Australia without leaving for two years, when do they start paying the Age Pension? Is it two years later? Or does it start from the date of claim? I’m 65 now, so do I get paid now or when I am 67? Is living in a caravan judged to be a residential address?

The other question is that if I returned, would I be able to claim unemployment benefit?

A. When you return to Australia to make a claim for the Age Pension, you need to remain here for two years once your claim has been approved. If you leave to return to South America during the two-year residency period, your Age Pension will be stopped. Therefore, you can’t return and leave the country as well as continue to have your Age Pension paid.

If you were to submit a claim once you return to Australia, it would be paid from that date, not 15 May 2017, as you did not meet the residency requirements between claims.

If awarded the Age Pension, it would be immediate and it would be backdated to the day the approved claim was made. You should note, however, that it can take several months for Age Pension claims to be processed. Once you have been granted an Age Pension and have served the two-year residency period, then you can leave Australia and have your payment paid overseas.

When moving overseas, your Age Pension payment will be subject to the work life residency rule. This means it will be paid pro-rata based on the number of years you have been resident in Australia while of working age until you reach 35 years of residency, which is when you will be paid the full rate of Age Pension. So if you have been a resident for 31 years, you will be paid 31/35ths of the full rate of your Age Pension. Your Age Pension will also be paid at the overseas rate and you will be paid four-weekly rather than fortnightly. You can find out more at

You may be able to claim unemployment benefit, which is Newstart Allowance: however, you will be subject to a work test.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    Correct me if wrong but as from July 1 this year you would also have to 65 and 6 months to apply for the age pension.


    • 0

      That’s correct Ed, but it sounds like they originally applied in May, when the qualification age was still 65.

      Goes up by six months every two years from here on doesn’t it?

  2. 0

    The two years in Australia before portability is allowed. Is that an uninterrupted two years, or are you permitted to take holidays etc. overseas?

    If overseas travel is permitted, what is the maximum time one may spend outside of Australia in the two year period, for each trip and in total?

  3. 0

    I am in a similar position to this but have the added issue that I am a carer for someone overseas.
    I may be able to cover the carer situation for the first 2 years if I can travel overseas for 6 week holidays

  4. 0

    I am 66.
    Irish/Aust citizen. In Aust 44 years. Left in 2004.
    Now living in Channel Islands (British not UK)
    Can’t afford to retire here and can’t afford to return to Australia for 2 years. Currently still working to stay afloat.
    If I become a resident of Portugal ( which has a Soc Sec agreement) Am I entitled to apply for and receive my Aust pension there ? If after 2 years of living there, can I then take my pension with me anywhere ( that is to countries that do not have agreements with Aust) ?

  5. 0

    Okay,I am going through the same situation,I am currently overseas and are awaiting the first flight back to Perth WA,you need to speak to the immigration section which Susie told me to do,the are in Tasmania,now after all the bullshit I have been told and the disconnect calls this it,you have to be in Australia to make application,once here you can apply with MyGov,if you have no issues it takes up to 2months to process,when you apply it is backdated to that day,so it’s like money in the bank,once it approved you have to reside in Australia for2years which is fair,but what you do in that 2years is your business but this is the cream you can go overseas anytime in the 2 year period for up to 13 weeks before you loose it and have to start over again,now if you go overseas to watch the Rugby or have a cupcake tea with mum you can but you don’t get paid until you come back,CLink knows when you leave and return so be smart and don’t give them the ammo to stuff you around,the other thing I asked is can I stay with a relative and pay rent and was told yes,I can be paid and not effect their pension,they said to me and this piss a lot of the nay sayers out there the pension is your right to get after all the years you have contributed and you are entitled to it,they sat me on my arse,no one in the government has ever said that,I also said what if I buy a cheap van and travel around Australia instead of being in the same place and they said why not,and you can claim your caravan park fees to a certain value,i spent 1.5hours with them going over everything 10 times just to be sure,then if after the 2 years the pension is portable so you you can travel the world enjoy life and get what you are entitled$$$$$$$$$ to hope some of this helps ….seize the day….Scottie



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