Disability Support Pension if you travel outside Australia
Travelling outside Australia may affect your Disability Support Pension payment. Some rules may stop your payment if you leave Australia.
Temporary travel overseas
You can get your Disability Support Pension for up to 28 days in a 12 month period if you travel overseas temporarily. It doesn’t matter if you make a single trip or multiple trips.
Example 1: single trip
If you left Australia on 3 March 2017, we’ll pay you for up to 28 days from the date you leave.
If you’re still overseas after 28 days, your payment stops.
If you return to Australia and then travel overseas again before 3 March 2018, your payment stops from the day you leave.
Example 2: multiple trips
If you left Australia on 3 March 2017 for 14 days, we’ll pay you for up to 14 days from the date you leave.
If you return to Australia and then travel overseas for 21 days on 17 February 2018, we’ll pay you for up to 14 days from the date you leave. Your payment stops at the end of the 14 days.
We may pay your Disability Support Pension for longer while travelling outside Australia if you’re:
- studying outside Australia as part of a full time Australian course
- severely disabled and depend on, and live with, a family member posted outside Australia temporarily for work, or
- assessed by us before you leave Australia and you have a permanent and severe impairment that means you can’t work in the future
You may get Disability Support Pension for up to 28 days per trip if we decide you’re travelling:
- to attend an acute family crisis, for example to visit a family member who’s critically ill
- to adopt a child or go to a custody hearing
- to appear as a witness in a legal case
- to get eligible medical treatment that you can’t get in Australia
- to attend a memorial service approved by the Australian Government, or
- to take part in the Paralympic Games, or a qualification or preparation event in the 12 months prior to the Games
International social security agreements
If you go to a country where Australia has an international social security agreement that covers Disability Support Pension, the agreement may allow us to pay you longer.
To use an agreement you must:
- be severely disabled, and
- meet all the rules under the agreement
The international social security agreement decides the amount you’re paid.
Returning to Australia after living overseas
If you come back to Australia to live and start getting Disability Support Pension, your payment stops if you travel outside Australia during the next 2 years.
If you go to a country which has an international social security agreement with Australia, you may get the Disability Support Pension if you meet the rules of that agreement.
Tell us about your travel
Let us know at least 6 weeks before you plan to leave Australia.
This gives us time to arrange a medical review if needed. A medical review helps us decide if you can get your payment while overseas for longer than 28 days in a 12 month period.
How to tell us about your travel plans
The easiest way is using your Centrelink online account through myGov.
Learn how to register for an online account if you don’t already have one.
If you can’t use an online account, tell us your travel plans by:
Payment rates outside Australia
If you’re eligible for Disability Support Pension payments outside Australia, your rate of payment may change based on how long you’ve been away and your personal situation.
If you travel overseas for longer than 26 weeks we pay you at the outside Australia rate.
If you travel overseas under an international social security agreement the agreement tells you how much you get.
If you leave to live in another country
We won’t pay your Disability Support Pension if you leave Australia to live in another country unless:
- you’re terminally ill or permanently blind
- you left Australia before 1 July 2004 and:
- we told you we’d keep paying you indefinitely, and
- you haven’t returned to live in Australia
- we assessed you before you left Australia and you have a permanent and severe impairment that means you can’t work in the future
- you travel to a country which has an international social security agreement with Australia, and you can get your payment under that agreement
In these situations, while you’re outside Australia you’ll keep getting Disability Support Pension but the amount you get may change.
Your Pension Supplement reduces to the basic rate and your Energy Supplement stops:
- when you leave Australia to live in another country, or
- after 6 weeks if you leave temporarily
Payment rate after 6 weeks
You’ll get your full means tested rate of pension, if you lived in Australia as an Australian resident:
- for 35 years between age 16 and age pension age, or
- for 25 years between age 16 and age pension age, if you were getting Disability Support Pension outside Australia on 1 July 2014 and haven’t returned and stayed in Australia for 26 weeks since then, or
- when your inability to work or permanent blindness happened
If you weren’t an Australian resident when your inability to work or permanent blindness happened your rate of payment may change after 6 weeks outside Australia. We use the length of time you were an Australian resident between 16 years of age and age pension age to decide your rate
Example 3 – you get a full means tested rate
You arrived in Australia in June 2005. You were permanently and severely impaired due to an accident in 2012, while an Australian resident.
You get the full means tested rate of Disability Support Pension.
Example 4 – you don’t get a full means tested rate
You arrived in Australia in June 2005 after you were already permanently and severely impaired. In June 2016 you left Australia after 11 years as an Australian resident.
You get 11/35ths of you full means tested rate of Disability Support Pension.
Going to New Zealand
The Agreement with New Zealand may affect your Disability Support Pension rate if:
- you go there to live
- you go there on your way to live in another country
- you go there and you’ll be outside Australia for more than 12 months, or
- you go there and you’ve been outside Australia for more than 26 weeks
How much your payment changes depends on the details of the agreement with New Zealand.
Read more about payments while outside Australia.