Lynn is seeking to clarify her partner’s Age Pension entitlement now that he is working in South Africa.
My partner came to Australia at the age of 55 in 1998. He worked in part-time positions until January 2016, when he returned permanently to South Africa. He had acquired Australian citizenship and was receiving an Australian Age Pension when he left. He has returned to Australia only once since then, in June 2016. I believe he is currently working five days a week as a tutor in South Africa. Is he still entitled to an Australian pension or part-pension?
A: If your partner received an Age Pension while he was in Australia, he would be entitled to be paid this when he returned to South Africa on a pro-rata basis, depending on the number of working years he had spent in Australia. However, as the Age Pension is means-tested, the assets he holds, or the income he receives in South Africa, may mean he is no longer eligible.
It’s possible to get the Age Pension for the whole time you’re overseas, whether you have left Australia on a temporary or on a 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 a Centrelink question, send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.