Can I travel overseas?

James is confused by Centrelink rules and wants to know if a second overseas trip will affect his Age Pension.

Q. James
I will try and keep this simple. I am confused as the Centrelink web info is not clear to me.

I am 73-years-old and worked and lived in Australia all my life. When I turned 70, I went for a two and half year overseas holiday. In effect, I was overseas for two and half years. (January 2015 to August 2017) As soon as I returned I applied for the Australian Age Pension and was successful. I returned to Australia August 2017. My Age Pension was approved December 2017.

So, am I able to go on another overseas holiday early in 2018 for say 6 weeks? Or, can I in early in 2018 move permanently overseas? (Thailand)

A. As you returned to Australia to claim an Age Pension, you are subject to the two-year residency rule which means that your Age Pension will be stopped if you leave Australia permanently.

In regards to taking a six-week holiday, you will need to clarify with Centrelink directly. While you are able to travel overseas temporarily during the two-year residency period, you will need to confirm that Centrelink does indeed consider your trip within the ‘rules’.

It would probably be useful for you to make an appointment to speak to a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer to outline the rules that apply to your specific circumstances.

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.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Related articles:
Overseas pension calculator
Will my overseas pension be affected?
Overseas travel trap

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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