Overseas travel trap

Russ recently travelled overseas and was sure that he met all Centrelink’s requirements to ensure he still received his Disability Support Pension, however, a miscalculation has cost him dearly and he doesn’t want others to be caught out.

Russ’s story
I recently went to the Philippines for a holiday and Centrelink advised I that I could only leave the country for 42 days because I am on a DSP. I carefully checked my dates and, wanting the longest possible time abroad, I worked it out to 42 days. And so I booked my holiday from 10 January to 21 February 2014.

On my return to Australia, I received a letter from Centrelink advising me that my pension had been suspended because I was out of the country for 43 days. When I queried this I was told that I had left the country on 9 January. My flight was for just after midnight on the 10th and, because I had passed through immigration before midnight, I was deemed to have been absent for 43 days. I did not agree with the  decision and appealed but the decision was final.

I would like to make people aware of this problem, as losing any benefits can be hard-hitting nowadays. So if you are leaving the country soon after midnight, please be aware to count an extra day for passing immigration.

Have you been caught out similar to Russ? 

Written by Debbie McTaggart