Payments while outside Australia

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

Disability Support Pension

From 1 January 2015, Disability Support Pension recipients who travel overseas can continue to receive their payments for a maximum of 4 weeks overseas in any 12 month period. Read more about changes to payments for people with a disability.

Student payments

From 1 January 2015, full time students or Australian Apprentices travelling overseas will continue to receive their student payments if they are travelling for an approved reason. Read more about changes to payments for students and young people.

How leaving Australia may affect your payment

Depending on the payments or concessions you are receiving, there are different rules covering how travelling outside Australia will affect you.

While overseas it is important to advise us about any changes to your circumstances that would normally affect your payment, the same as you would if you were inside Australia.

Telling us about your travel

If you are leaving Australia to live or travel overseas, you should always find out how your payments will be affected. Use your Centrelink account through myGov to tell us about your travel plans and get tailored information on how your payments could be affected.

There are processes in place to receive information automatically from Australia’s immigration department about movements into, and out of, Australia.

When you leave Australia your payments will automatically be adjusted or even stop based on the rules covering each of the payments you receive.

Before travelling overseas

If we cannot get in touch with you while you are outside Australia, in certain circumstances we may need to stop your payment. Access your letters and other services online by registering for an online account before you leave Australia

If you need to regularly report your earnings, make sure you report them before you leave Australia, even if your normal reporting date is not due as your reporting date may change due to your travel.

  • if you are a member of a couple but being treated as single under Section 24 of the Social Security Act 1991 and are intending to reside with your partner whilst overseas, your payment and circumstances need to be reviewed before you depart Australia, otherwise you could incur a debt. Contact us before you leave Australia

How you will be paid while outside Australia

If your payments can continue while you are outside Australia and you intend to be away for less than 12 months, your payment will continue to be paid into your Australian bank account every 2 weeks.

If you intend to be away for more than 12 months, you will be paid every 4 weeks either:

  • into your Australian bank account, or
  • into an overseas bank account

We will discuss these options with you when you contact us.

If you are paid into an overseas account it will be paid in the local currency or US dollars, depending on the country you are in. The payment is converted by the Reserve Bank of Australia using the exchange rate applicable on the day of issue of the payment. Generally the money is in your account within 2 to 6 days after we issue it.

You will have to pay any fees your bank charges to access your funds while you are outside Australia.

You can use the international bank account forms to notify us of your overseas account.

Pension rates while living outside Australia

Pensions are paid differently if you live outside Australia permanently or are absent from Australia on a long term basis.

Read more about pension rates payable to people outside Australia.

You can't return to Australia as planned and your payment has stopped

If you have reached the end of the period you can be paid overseas and your payment has stopped, in most cases you cannot have your payment restored until you return to Australia.

It may be possible to have your payment extended if:

  • you are reaching the end of the period and you find that you can't return to Australia as planned due to unforeseen circumstances such as serious illness or a natural disaster, or
  • you are in a country with which Australia has a social security agreement, and you are getting 1 of the payments listed below:
    • Disability Support Pension
    • Bereavement Allowance
    • Parenting Payment Single, and you are widowed
    • Carer Payment, and you are caring for a pensioner partner

To find out if your payment can continue, you will need to contact International Services.

Returning to Australia

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

You need to contact us when you return if you:

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

Affected payments

Your payment may be affected if you travel or live outside Australia and receive:

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