Age Pension while travelling outside Australia

There are rules about when your Age Pension can be paid when you travel outside Australia and at what rate.

Rules for Age Pension outside Australia

You can generally be paid Age Pension for the whole time you are outside Australia, regardless of whether you leave temporarily or to live in another country.

However, the amount you receive may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

If you are paid Age Pension under an international social security agreement, the amount that you receive while you are outside Australia is determined according to that agreement.

If you have returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you have started receiving Age Pension during this period, you cannot be paid outside Australia until the 2 year waiting period has passed. This rule also applies if you were previously paid under an international social security agreement while you were living outside Australia and your Age Pension continues to be paid now you have returned to live in Australia again.

If you are affected by this rule and you travel outside Australia while remaining an Australian resident, your absence is generally considered to be temporary and is counted as part of the 2 year period.

If you are affected by this rule and you travel to a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, the agreement may allow you to continue to get Age Pension.

When to tell us about your travel

You should tell us you are leaving Australia if you:

  • are going to live in another country
  • will be away for more than 6 weeks
  • are paid under an international social security agreement, or
  • returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you started being paid Age Pension during this period

Otherwise you do not need to tell us that you are leaving Australia. Australia's immigration department will advise us when you leave Australia and when you return.

The easiest way to tell us about your travel plans is to use your Centrelink online account through myGov. You can get tailored information on how your payments and concession cards could be affected.

Age Pension rate while outside Australia

The amount of Age Pension you can be paid may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

Your rate of Age Pension generally will not change if you travel outside Australia temporarily for less than 6 weeks.

If you are outside Australia for more than 6 weeks you will be paid at an outside Australia rate. Your Pension Supplement will reduce to the basic rate and your Energy Supplement will stop:

  • after 6 weeks if you are going temporarily
  •  on departure from Australia if you are leaving to live in another country

If you are paid Age Pension under an international social security agreement, the agreement rules determine the amount that you are paid while you are outside Australia. If you are paid under an agreement, the rate paid after 26 weeks, detailed below, may apply to you when you leave Australia.

Age Pension rate after 26 weeks

After 26 weeks your rate will be based on how long you have lived in Australia as an Australian resident between the age of 16 and age pension age.

You will usually need to have lived in Australia as an Australian resident for 35 years to get a full means tested rate of Age Pension after 26 weeks overseas. If you have lived in Australia for less than 35 years, you will generally get a proportional rate.

For example, if you lived in Australia for 10 years between the age of 16 and age pension age, you will generally receive 10/35ths of the full means tested rate.

If you were receiving Age Pension, or another Australian social security pension, outside Australia on 1 July 2014 and you have not returned and stayed in Australia for 26 weeks or more, you will usually need to have lived in Australia for 25 years to get your full means tested rate.

Going to New Zealand

Your rate may be affected by the Agreement with New Zealand from the date you arrive in New Zealand if you:

  • move to New Zealand to live
  • are going to live in any other country, or plan to leave Australia for more than 12 months, and you visit New Zealand, or
  • have been outside Australia for more than 26 weeks and you visit New Zealand

The rate under the Agreement is based on how long you have lived in Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Page last updated: 4 August 2016

This information was printed Sunday 25 September 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/age-pension-while-travelling-outside-australia It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.