Payments paid while outside Australia

To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for that payment.

How leaving Australia may affect your payment

You will also have to tell us about any changes in your circumstances while you are away.

The information on this page provides a guide only. There are other circumstances which may also affect your payments while outside Australia.

There is a change to the pension payment rates for eligible customers who depart Australia on or after 1 July 2014. Go to Pension payment rates while absent from Australia for more information.

Contact us if you're planning to leave Australia so that we can let you know how your payments will be affected.

Age Pension and Pension Supplement

Your pension payment is made up of 2 different parts: Age Pension and Pension Supplement. When you leave Australia and we calculate the amount of payment you will receive, we look at Age Pension and Pension Supplement individually. Both payments can change depending on your circumstances.

Age Pension

You can get Age Pension for the whole time you are overseas, regardless of whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.

However, the amount of pension you receive may change if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks. Whether or not your payment amount changes will depend on how long you have lived in Australia between age 16 and age pension age. 

For more information on how the pension payment rates are calculated, go to Pension payment rates while absent from Australia.

If you are travelling to New Zealand, the amount you receive may be affected by the social security agreement between Australia and New Zealand.

If you returned to live in Australia and were granted or transferred to Age Pension within the last 2 years, you will not be able to receive your Age Pension outside the country. After you return, to be paid outside the country, you must have been living in Australia for two years since your last arrival for residence. If you travel to a country that Australia has a social security agreement with, you may be able to continue to get your payment under that social security agreement.

ABSTUDY

If you leave Australia permanently your ABSTUDY payment will stop on departure.

You can keep your ABSTUDY payment for six weeks while outside Australia temporarily if you are a full-time student.

You can keep your payment for longer in the following situations:

Secondary students

Secondary students studying overseas can continue to get ABSTUDY if:

  • you are studying at an approved school in Australia, and
  • the course meets the workload provisions for Schooling Award study

If you are on an approved international educational exchange program, you can get ABSTUDY for the entire period of overseas study.

If you are studying outside Australia because your parent, who is employed by the Commonwealth of Australia, has been posted overseas, you can get ABSTUDY for the entire period of the overseas posting.

If you are studying overseas for any other reason, you can get ABSTUDY payments for a maximum of 12 months from the start of your attendance at the overseas school.

Tertiary students

If you are studying at a tertiary, masters or doctorate level, you can keep your ABSTUDY payment while you are outside Australia if you:

  • are enrolled in an approved course at an Australian higher education institution and it is prepared to credit your overseas study toward the approved Australian course, and
  • meet the normal study-load requirements of the course

Australian Apprentices

An Australian Apprentice receiving ABSTUDY can travel overseas as part of their work or during their holiday break and continue to get their payments, provided they maintain eligibility and have a current Commonwealth registration identification number.

Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme

If you or your children leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

When you leave Australia temporarily, you may be able to keep your payments if:

  • your child is participating in an international student exchange program as part of their studies and remains enrolled at an Australian education institution
  • the student is continuing to incur the costs in Australia for which the allowance is paid, or
  • you leave Australia temporarily for less than two years and your main home is in Australia

Students qualified for the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme Distance Education Allowance who go overseas, may continue to receive their payment if they:

  • are outside Australia for no more than 12 months
  • continue to be enrolled at a recognised Australian distance education facility, and
  • commit to doing the required school work on a full-time basis

Austudy

If you leave Australia permanently your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily and you are a full-time student, you can keep your payment for:

  • up to six weeks as long as you continue studying (e.g. during holidays or semester breaks)
  • more than six weeks until the end of your overseas study if you are doing your study as part of a full-time Australian course, or
  • the purpose of attending a Defence Force Reserves training camp

Baby Bonus

If you leave Australia after you have been granted Baby Bonus, you can still get your remaining payments while you are outside Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments will change.

Bereavement Allowance

You can receive Bereavement Allowance outside Australia for as long as you continue to qualify for this payment.

Carer Allowance

If you or the person you care for leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If the person being cared for is with you for temporary travel outside Australia, you can keep your payment for the first six weeks of your travel. If they are not travelling with you outside Australia, you will get Carer Allowance for the first six weeks, provided you have enough unused respite days remaining (carers have up to 63 respite days in each calendar year).

If the person being cared for is travelling on their own, you will only receive Carer Allowance for the number of unused respite days for the calendar year.

If the person being cared for is under 16 years of age and stays in Australia with your partner, you can get Carer Allowance (but not Carer Payment) for up to six weeks while you are outside Australia, without using your respite days.

Carer Payment

If you or the person you care for leaves Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure, unless you qualify for Carer Payment under an international social security agreement.

If you leave Australia temporarily with the person you care for, you can get Carer Payment for the first six weeks of travel. You can continue to receive your Carer Payment for longer than six weeks if you are:

  • studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course, or
  • eligible to get a Carer Payment under an international social security agreement

If the person being cared for is not travelling with you, you will receive Carer Payment for the first six weeks, provided you have enough unused respite days remaining (carers have up to 63 respite days in each calendar year).

If the person being cared for is travelling on their own, you can get your Carer Payment for the number of unused respite days for the calendar year.

Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate

Child Care Benefit and/or Child Care Rebate can only be paid for child care provided in Australia.

If you or your children leave Australia permanently, your Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate will stop on departure.

If your children leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate for up to three years after they leave Australia.

If you have a Partner Provisional Visa (subclass 309 or 820) or Interdependency Visa (subclass 310 or 826), you can only get your Child Care Benefit/Child Care Rebate for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, your Child Care Benefit/Child Care Rebate will stop as soon as you leave Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments will change.

Concession Cards

If you leave Australia permanently your Health Care Card, Low Income Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will be cancelled when you leave.

If you leave Australia temporarily, your card will remain current for up to six weeks, provided that you continue to be eligible.

If you have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, make sure the details about your income are up to date. If your card is cancelled, you may have to re-apply for the card and/or provide updated income details when you return.

Dad and Partner Pay

If you leave Australia permanently or your child leaves your care, you cannot get Dad and Partner Pay.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you may still be able to get Dad and Partner Pay if your child remains in your care.

If you are the holder of a Partner Provisional Visa (subclass 309 or 820) or Interdependency Visa (subclass 310 or 826) then you may only get your payment if you are absent from Australia for one of the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill), or
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia, and
  • absence from Australia has not exceeded six weeks

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, you won't be able to get Dad and Partner Pay if you leave Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments may change.

Disability Support Pension (DSP)

If you leave Australia to live in another country you will not be able to receive Disability Support Pension (DSP) in the other country, unless you:

  • are terminally ill and are leaving Australia permanently to be with or near a family member, or to return to your country of origin, or
  • left Australia prior to 1 July 2004, and at the time of leaving you were told that you could be paid indefinitely, and you have not returned to Australia to live since that time, or
  • have been assessed in Australia prior to the departure as having a permanent, severe impairment and no future work capacity. Assessment involves a review of your DSP qualification and a Job Capacity Assessment

In these situations, you can keep your DSP payments for the whole time you are outside Australia, however, the amount that you get may change.

When you leave Australia temporarily, you can usually get your DSP payments for up to six weeks while you're away.

You may be able to get your DSP for more than six weeks if you:

  • are studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course, or
  • are severely disabled and dependent on and living with, a family member who has been temporarily posted to work outside Australia by their Australian employer

If you returned to live in Australia and were granted or transferred to DSP within the last two years, you will not be able to receive DSP outside Australia. After you return, to be paid outside the country you must have been living in Australia for two years since you last arrived in Australia to live.

If you stop receiving your DSP under the rules mentioned above, you may be able to get a pension from the country you're going to, if it has a social security agreement with Australia that covers DSP. However, this normally requires you to be 'severely disabled'.

If you are travelling to New Zealand, your payment rate may be affected by the social security agreement between Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, such as whether the country that you are going to has a social security agreement with Australia, visit Countries that have a agreements with Australia or call International Services on 131 673.

Double Orphan Pension

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payment for up to three years.

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure, unless you are eligible to get a Double Orphan Pension under an international social security agreement.

If you left Australia for more than three years and have returned for less than six weeks, you may not be able to get the Double Orphan Pension immediately when you leave Australia again.

If you have a Partner Provisional Visa (subclasses 309 and 820) or Interdependency Visa (subclass 310 or 826), you can only get your payment, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

You will need to show proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We will let you know what type of proof you need when you contact us.

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, your Double Orphan Pension will stop as soon as you leave Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments may change.

Exceptional Circumstance Relief Payment

If you leave Australia permanently, your payments will stop on departure.

When you leave Australia temporarily, you can only get your payment for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • for eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia.

If you are attending a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves you can get your payment for the duration of the training.

You will need to show proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your reasons for travelling outside Australia.

Family Tax Benefit Part A and Family Tax Benefit Part B

If you or your children leave Australia permanently your payments will stop on departure.

If you or your children leave Australia temporarily, you may get paid:

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A base rate for up to three years
  • more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for up to six weeks, and
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B for up to six weeks

If you and/or your child/ren leave Australia for more than six weeks and then return and leave again within six weeks, your payment may change.

If you have a Partner Provisional Visa (subclass 309 or 820) or Interdependency Visa (subclass 310 or 826) and you leave Australia temporarily, you can only get your Family Tax Benefit for up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

You will need to show proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your reasons for travelling outside Australia.

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa your Family Tax Benefit will stop as soon as you leave Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments will change.

Mobility Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payments will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payments for up to six weeks, provided you maintain eligibility (e.g. during holidays from work or training).

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

The same rules that apply to Family Tax Benefit Part A apply to the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.

Newstart Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payments will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can only keep your payments, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • for eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

If you are attending a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves you can be paid for the duration of the training.

You will need to show proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your reasons for travelling outside Australia.

Parental Leave Pay

If you leave Australia permanently or your children leave your care, you cannot get Parental Leave Pay.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you might be able to get the remaining instalments of your Parental Leave Pay.

If you have a Partner Provisional Visa (subclass 309 or 820) or Interdependency Visa (subclass 310 or 826), you can only get your payments, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, your payments will stop as soon as you leave Australia.

If you leave Australia and your Parental Leave Pay stops even for one day, it cannot be restarted when you return to Australia.

Contact the Families Line on 136 150 before you leave Australia to find out how your payments may change.

Parenting Payment (Single and Partnered)

If you or your children leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure unless you're eligible for the payment under an international social security agreement.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can receive Parenting Payment for the first six weeks while you're away, unless you're studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course.

If you are attending a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves you can be paid for the duration of the training.

If you or your children leave Australia for more than six weeks, then return and leave again within six weeks, you may not be able to receive Parenting Payment immediately on you, or your children's next departure.

Partner Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can only receive your payments for the first six weeks, unless you're studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course.

Pension Supplement

You can get the basic amount of Pension Supplement for as long as you maintain eligibility. It doesn't matter whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can get the 'minimum' and 'remaining' amounts of Pension Supplement for the first six weeks.

Pensioner Education Supplement

If you leave Australia permanently, your Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) payment will stop on departure.

You may be able to be paid PES for a temporary absence of up to 6 weeks provided you remain qualified for your main payment.

If you are receiving Newstart Allowance and your payment stops when you leave Australia, you may still be eligible for Newstart Allowance when you return, but will no longer qualify for PES.

Pharmaceutical Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can continue to receive your payment for up to six weeks or up to 26 weeks, depending on how long you remain eligible for your main payment.

Remote Area Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payments for up to eight weeks.

Rent Assistance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payment for up to six weeks or up to 26 weeks, depending on how long you remain eligible for your main payment.

Schoolkids Bonus

You can be paid the Schoolkids Bonus while overseas as long as you maintain eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A, Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) or Disability Support Pension with Pensioner Education Supplement. You must also meet the age and study requirements.

Seniors Supplement

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your Seniors Supplement if you still have your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and the pay day falls within six weeks of your departure date.

Sickness Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can only keep your payment, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • for eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

You will need to show us proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your reason for travelling outside Australia.

Special Benefit

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can only keep your payment, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • for eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

You will need to show us proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your reason for travelling outside Australia.

If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, your Special Benefit will stop as soon as you leave Australia.

Telephone Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payment if the Telephone Allowance payday is within the first six weeks of your absence, and you continue to be a subscriber.

Utilities Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can keep your payment if the Utilities Allowance qualification day is within the first six weeks of your absence, and you maintain eligibility.

Widow Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia temporarily, you can only get your payment for the first six weeks, unless you're studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course.

Widow B Pension and Wife Pension

When you leave Australia either temporarily or permanently, you can only get your payments for the first six weeks, unless:

  • you are studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course
  • your legal husband has died (this only applies to Widow B Pension)
  • you have 10 years Australian residence
  • you were affected by a recommendation of an 'allegation authority', or
  • you can get the payment under an international social security agreement

In these cases, you can get your payments for the whole time that you're away. However, after six weeks your rate may change. It may change again if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks.

Youth Allowance

If you leave Australia permanently, your payment will stop on departure.

Students

If you are a full-time student you can get your payment:

  • for up to six weeks of a temporary absence, if you remain enrolled as a student (e.g. during holidays or semester breaks)
  • until the end of your study if you are studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course

If you want to do part of your study overseas, you need to give us a statement from your Australian institution confirming:

  • that you will remain enrolled with your Australian educational institution
  • your study load while overseas
  • the duration of your overseas study, and
  • that your overseas study will count towards your Australian course

If you are attending a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves you can get your payment for the duration of the training.

Australian Apprentices

An Australian Apprentice can travel overseas as part of their work or during their holiday break and continue to get their payments, provided they maintain eligibility and have a current Commonwealth registration identification number.

Job seekers

If you are not a full-time student or Australian Apprentice and you leave Australia temporarily, you can only get your payment, for an approved length of time of up to a maximum of six weeks, for the following approved reasons:

  • for an acute family crisis (e.g. to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill)
  • for humanitarian reasons (e.g. to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings), or
  • for eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia

If you are attending a training camp with the Defence Force Reserves you can get your payment for the duration of the training.

You will need to show us proof of your reason for travelling overseas. We can tell you what type of proof you need to show us, based on your circumstances.

Pension payment rates while absent from Australia

If you can be paid your pension indefinitely while you are outside Australia, your rate of payment may change after 26 weeks. Your rate of payment will be based on the amount of time you lived in Australia as an Australian resident between the age of 16 and age pension age.

If you depart Australia before 1 July 2014, you will usually need to have lived in Australia as an Australian resident for 25 years in order to continue receiving your full rate of pension after 26 weeks. If you have lived in Australia less than 25 years you will receive a smaller rate of pension after 26 weeks outside Australia.

If you are already outside Australia on 1 July 2014, you can continue to receive your payment under the 25 year rules, unless you return and stay in Australia for 26 weeks or more.

If you depart Australia on or after 1 July 2014, you will usually need to have lived in Australia as an Australian resident for 35 years in order to continue receiving your full rate of pension after 26 weeks. If you have lived in Australia less than 35 years you will receive a smaller rate of pension after 26 weeks outside Australia.

If you get a pension under a social security agreement, the amount that you get paid while you are outside Australia is decided by that agreement.  Under most agreements, the amount that you get will reduce when you leave Australia.

There are specific rules covering the rate of pension you will be paid while you are overseas if you are travelling to New Zealand.

Example 1

Henri arrived in Australia in June 1990.  He lived and worked in Australia until his retirement in May 2011.  He decides to leave Australia to visit family and friends in May 2014.  After 26 weeks absence from Australia he will receive a rate of Age pension based upon his Australian Working Life Residence of 21 years. That is, he will receive 84% (21/25ths) of the maximum means tested rate of pension.

Example 2

Maria arrived in Australia in June 1970.  She lived and worked in Australia until her retirement in May 2001.  In September 2014 she decides to leave Australia to visit family and friends.  After 26 weeks absence from Australia she will receive a rate of Age Pension based upon her Australian Working Life Residence of 31 years. That is, she will receive 88% (31/35ths) of the maximum means tested rate of pension.

Outside Australia, your payment has stopped and you can't return to Australia as planned

If you have reached the end of your payment period outside Australia, in most cases you cannot get your payment again until you return to Australia.

To find out if your payment can continue, contact International Services.

International Services can help you if:

  • your payment has been approved to continue for an agreed period. For example to attend to an acute family crisis and you need to request an extension of that agreed period
  • you are reaching the end of your payment period outside Australia and you find that you can't return to Australia as planned due to unforeseen circumstances, for example serious illness, or
  • you are in a country that Australia has a social security agreement with, and you are getting:
    • Disability Support Pension
    • Parenting Payment Single and you are a widow/widower or
    • Carer Payment and you are caring for a pensioner partner

You may need to complete the Certification of location in a country with which Australia has a social security agreement form and return it to International Services before we can decide whether to continue your payment.

Returning to Australia

In most cases you do not need to tell us that you have returned to Australia, for example if you have returned after a short trip and your payment remained current throughout your absence, you do not need to call us.

You need to contact us when you return if you:

  • are returning to live in Australia after living overseas
  • get your payment under an international social security agreement
  • have been asked to show proof of your reason for travel, or
  • your payment or concession card stopped while you were away and it was not automatically restored when you returned

Studying outside Australia

Generally you cannot get more than 6 weeks payment to study overseas if you are studying externally, for example online study. You will also need to provide proof from your university to show that the study overseas will count towards your Australian course.

Temporary Protection Visas

Temporary Protection Visas include:

  • subclass 070 - Removal Pending Bridging Visa (RPBV)
  • subclass 447 - Secondary Movement Offshore Entry
  • subclass 451 - Secondary Movement Relocation
  • subclass 695 - Return Pending
  • subclass 785 - Temporary Protection
  • subclass 786 - Temporary (Humanitarian Concern)
  • subclass 787 - Witness Protection (Trafficking) (Temporary)
  • subclass ZB 951 - Criminal Justice Stay Visa issued for the purpose of assisting in the administration of criminal justice in relation to the offence of people trafficking, sexual servitude or deceptive recruiting