Claiming your overseas pension

June has been told she has to apply for an overseas pension but doesn’t know where to start or what effect any payment would have on her Age Pension claim.

Q. June

I am approaching Age Pension age and a friend has told me that, as I was born in the UK, and have lived and worked there, I have to claim a pension from the UK Government before I can claim an Australian one. Is this the case?  I have no idea how to go about doing so.

My friend also told me that my Australian Age Pension would be reduced by the amount I receive from the UK. But with ever-changing exchange rates, how am I supposed to keep Centrelink advised of how much my pension will be?

A. Your friend’s advice is correct. If you are, or may be, entitled to a pension from another country, then you must claim that before you can make a claim for an Australian Age Pension. However, if you need to claim a pension from a country that has an international special security agreement with Australia, Centrelink’s International Service will assist you with your claim.

The UK is not a country with which Australia has an agreement but International Service can help you find the information you need to enable you to commence your claim. You can also find out more about claiming a UK state pension at Gov.uk/state-pension-if-you-retire-abroad

When you advise Centrelink of your income and assets from overseas, it will convert the value into Australian dollars. Once you have been granted a UK pension, the amount will stay the same – it is not indexed. This means that the only fluctuation in the value of your payment will be due to the exchange rate. Centrelink currently uses the Commonwealth Bank buy rates that apply on the fifth business day before the first of each month.

Centrelink will update your income details on the first of each month and apply this rate of income to your Age Pension payment.

You should contact Centrelink on 13 2300 to find out more about your personal circumstance.

Related articles:
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Pension payments overseas

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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