What happens to your pension when you go OS for six weeks?

Elmarie was told her pension payments will stop if she leaves Australia for more than six weeks, but is that actually the case?

What happens to your pension when you go OS for six weeks?

Elmarie was told her pension payments will stop if she leaves Australia for more than six weeks, but is that actually the case?


Q. Elmarie
Is it possible for you to tell me what happens to my Age Pension if I am out of Australia for more the six weeks? I am 69 years young and have a son, daughter-in-law and two delightful grandsons living in South Africa. I miss them terribly and my son pays for me to fly over and visit every year, sometimes twice a year. A lady at Centrelink told me I can only go for a maximum of six weeks a year, but I've subsequently heard that that's not the case. Could you please help me with this issue?

A. It is possible to get the Age Pension for the whole time you’re overseas, whether you have left Australia on a temporary or permanent basis. There are, however, a number of factors relating to your working life residence in Australia and your residency status before you first applied for the pension that can have an effect on it.

If you come back to live in Australia from another country and start getting the Age Pension, you must remain in Australia for two years or your pension payment will stop altogether.

Assuming that your pension meets the portability requirements mentioned above, we can then look at what will happen to your payments based on how long you spend overseas.

If you leave Australia for less than six weeks, your Age Pension payment rate normally won’t change.

If you leave Australia for more than six weeks, your pension payment will drop to the basic rate and your energy supplement payment will cease.

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’ (AWLR). This is the number of years you have resided in Australia since age 16 to Age Pension age.

If you have lived in Australia for 35 years (420 months), then you are paid the full rate of Age Pension to which you are entitled. If, for example, you have only resided in Australia for 20 years, then you will be paid 241/420 of the Age Pension (20 x12 plus an extra month).

Do you have question regarding the Age Pension or other Centrelink benefits?

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    Disclaimer: 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.


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    14th Feb 2020
    At times we might be overseas for a week or two too long, pension payment was not affected but our pension cards were cancelled and reinstated upon our return. So if you know you will be offshore for more than 6 weeks tell C/L and also get some of your medications needed before you leave, store them at home as your new card can take some time to arrive.
    14th Feb 2020
    Good tip Mariner, especially about having enough medications until your new card comes through.
    14th Feb 2020
    What our founding fathers said in parliament in 1908:

    We wish to honour the sentiments of the legislators who introduced the Age Pension in Parliament in 1908. When it became law, it was commended with the following words: “… it removes the idea of old-age pensions from any suggestion of a charitable allowance. An old man, who has done his duty as a citizen for 25 years (is) as much entitled to a pension as a commander-in-chief or a chief justice.”
    End Quote: _____

    The pension was a reward for service. It should still be considered in this light. It is not a handout.

    Therefore, a pension is not welfare.

    But modern politicians have stuffed it up completely

    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even the UK and poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension, so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be hassled by their crazed robo-debt scam and then waste even more time in the 3 million people waiting queues and more lost calls?

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

    Ask your MP do they really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?
    14th Feb 2020
    Welcome to Oz.
    15th Feb 2020
    I believe this proportional rule applies in many other countries.

    Here it was due to the sheer numbers of immigrants retiring and going home on a full Australian aged pension which was becoming unsustainable.

    Can you imagine the future when over half the population could possibly choose to go home and live off Australia. It would destroy the economy.
    15th Feb 2020
    Our problem, Rae, is the rule that they have to live here for 35 year to get the pension overseas in other countries it says "work" instead of "live", that is probably more the point. Not having contributed but getting the full benefit is unsustainable as you mentioned.
    14th Feb 2020
    So the trick to getting a fair deal foir pensioners is very simple; pollies get exactly the same deal! It might be nigh on impossible to make it happen but if it were the case all this nonsense would stop. Only a foolish government would attempt to stop boomers from living overseas. The cost of health and social services here is greater than the losses. Unless of course they DO INTEND to get their grubby mitts on your super...Not all would take advantage of it for many reasons but reducing a significant proportion of retirees to the basic rate would save billions moving forward. And many could live better in the third world on those funds than they can here. Its a win/win scenario
    14th Feb 2020
    Some people might just go back where they came from and get the full Aussie pension (without the supplements) and then they can get commercially active, do a bit of work, etc. and asset and income could never be tested the way it is here. Know people in the USA doing exactly that, the only difference is their pension payment is per month. Many countries do not supply details of individuals to C/L down here.
    15th Feb 2020
    Any independent can go live wherever the other country allows. It is only those dependent on government funds that must obey these rules. The problem was the increasing numbers of government dependents returning home or going to Asia for cheaper living. It was beginning to mess with the Australian currency values.
    15th Feb 2020
    Rae does it really matter where they retire, the money says the same and the health benefits fall away outside the country; a saving in age care also. Let them go to Asia, the beer is cheap and as long as they like chicken guts and fish heads they will be able to save enough to come back to Australia to see family. Not for me but, like it here.

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