Taking your pension overseas
On 1 July 2014, new rules on how much you can be paid while living or travelling outside Australia took effect.
The changes generally affect you if you receive a payment which is payable for an unlimited period outside Australia, you departed Australia on or after 1 July 2014 and you stay outside Australia for more than 26 weeks, or are paid under the terms of an international social security agreement.
To continue receiving your full rate of Australian pension you will generally need to have 35 years Australian working life residence (AWLR).
AWLR is the period of time you have lived in Australia between the age of 16 and age pension age. You do not need to have worked or paid tax during this period. You just need to have been an Australian resident during this period.
If you have less than 35 years AWLR, your rate of payment will be reduced. For example, if you have 27 years AWLR, you will get 27/35ths (77%) of the basic means-tested rate of payment.
If you receive any of the following payments you may be affected.
If you were outside Australia immediately before 1 July 2014 you can continue to receive your payment under the rules which applied when you left, unless you return and stay in Australia for 26 weeks or more.
Some international agreements specifically provide for different payment arrangements.
For more information about rates of payment outside Australia visit the Department of Human Services website.
Australia presently has 29 international social security agreements, with several more under negotiation. These agreements are bilateral treaties which close gaps in social security coverage for people who migrate between countries.
The Department is responsible for the formulation of policy associated with the provision of Australian income support payments for newly arrived residents and income support payments for Australians overseas.