Wife Pension while travelling outside Australia

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

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

Rules for Wife Pension outside Australia

You can generally be paid Wife Pension for the whole time you are outside Australia, regardless of whether you leave temporarily or to live in another country, provided your partner’s payment has not stopped.

The amount of payment you receive may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

International social security agreements

If you are going to a country that has an international social security agreement with Australia that covers Wife Pension, the agreement may allow you to be paid for longer. You have to be living either in Australia or the agreement country to be paid under any of the international social security agreements that cover Wife Pension.

If you are already paid under an international social security agreement, the amount you receive is determined according to the agreement. In general, most agreements allow the payment to continue indefinitely while you are in the agreement country or in Australia. If you go to another country, you can generally be paid for the same period as a person who leaves Australia and is not paid under an agreement.

When to tell us about your travel

The rules covering payment of Wife Pension outside Australia are complex and based on your personal circumstances.

You should always tell us if you are leaving Australia so we can advise you how your payment will be affected.

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. You may need to phone us to discuss your circumstances further.

Wife Pension rate while outside Australia

If you are eligible to be paid Wife Pension outside Australia, your rate may change at certain points based on how long you have been away and your personal circumstances.

Your rate of Wife 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 permanently to live in another country

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

Wife Pension rate after 26 weeks

After 26 weeks your rate will be based on how long you 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 continue receiving your full means tested rate of Wife Pension after 26 weeks. 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 Wife Pension outside Australia on 1 July 2014, you will usually only need to have lived in Australia for 25 years to get your full means tested rate. This does not apply if you have since returned and stayed in Australia for 26 weeks or more.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Page last updated: 29 February 2016

This information was printed Friday 9 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/wife-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.