Payments while outside Australia

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

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

How leaving Australia may affect your payment

Depending on your payments or concession cards, there are different rules covering how travelling outside Australia may affect you. When you leave Australia your payments or concession cards may be adjusted or even stop based on these rules.

Read more about specific rules for affected payments and concession cards and find out when you should tell us about your travel plans.

How to tell us about your travel

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 or concession cards could be affected. You can also add, view, update and remove overseas travel details online.

You can also call us on the phone number that relates to your affected payment.

Australia’s immigration department will also advise us when you leave Australia.

Before travelling overseas

Register for an online account through myGov before you leave Australia so you can access your letters and other services online while you are away.

If you need to regularly report your or your partner's earnings, make sure you report them on the business day before you leave Australia, even if your normal reporting date would have been later. Otherwise your payment may be delayed.

It is important to advise us about any change to your circumstances that would normally affect your payment or concession card.

If you are being paid as a single person because your partner is overseas, and you are leaving Australia to spend time with your partner, you should contact us to discuss this before you leave. Your payment needs to be reviewed before you leave. Otherwise you could be overpaid.

Payment while outside Australia

If we can’t get in touch with you while you’re outside Australia, in certain circumstances we may need to stop your payment or concession card.

If your payments can continue while you’re 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’ll be paid every 4 weeks either:

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

We’ll discuss these options with you when you contact us.

If your payments are made into an overseas account, you’ll be paid in the local currency or US dollars, depending on the country you’re in. The payment conversion is organised by the Reserve Bank of Australia using the exchange rate applicable at the time the payment is issued. The money is generally in your account 2 to 6 days after it’s issued.

You’ll have to pay any fees or bank charges to access your funds while you’re outside Australia.

Use our international bank account forms to notify us of your overseas account.

If 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 an international social security agreement, and you are getting one 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, contact International Services.

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 or concession card remained current throughout your absence, you do not need to contact us.

You need to contact us when you return if:

  • your payment or concession card stopped while you were away and it was not automatically restored when you returned
  • you are returning to live in Australia after having lived outside Australia
  • you are paid under an international social security agreement, or
  • you 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:

Page last updated: 26 July 2016