Age pension travel rules

You’re heading overseas but what about your pension payments?

Normally, you can get the age pension for the whole time you’re outside Australia, even if you live in another country for a while.

If you’re overseas for less than 6 weeks, generally, your pension rate won’t change.

However, after six weeks outside Australia, your pension supplement will reduce to the basic amount, your energy supplement will stop and your pensioner concession card will no longer be valid (but will be automatically reactivated when you return to Australia).

A proposal to stop the pension supplement while overseas is currently before Parliament. Click here for more details. 

Pension payments can take up to a week to arrive in a foreign bank account after being sent from Australia, so make sure that you have a healthy budgeting plan while you’re away.

Your pension also depends on how long you’ve lived in Australia

If you’re overseas more than 26 weeks, your rate could be reduced based on the number of years lived in Australia during your working life.

  • If you were an Australian resident for 35 years or more, your rate normally won’t change.
  • If you were a resident for less than 35 years, your pension will be lowered as a proportion of time as resident (for example, if you were a resident for 10 years, you will receive 10/35ths of your usual rate).

You should tell Centrelink you are leaving Australia if you:

  • are going to live in another country
  • will be away for more than 6 weeks
  • get payments under a social security agreement with another country
  • came back to live in Australia within the last 2 years and started getting the age pension since then.

Otherwise you don’t need to tell Centrelink about your travel. The immigration department will notify them when you leave and return.

The easiest way to tell Centrelink about your travel plans is by 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:

Domestic travel

Grey nomads travelling within Australia generally won’t have their age pension affected. However, if you’re travelling for a long time, let Centrelink know of any changes to your circumstances, such as renting out your home or any casual income you may earn on the road.

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