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Overseas holidays and the Age Pension

Retirement  |  12/01/2017  |   3 min read

Retirement is an opportunity to see and do the things you’ve always wanted to. For many people that means travelling overseas and enjoying an extended holiday.

But depending on how long you’re away, and where you’re travelling, your Age Pension benefits may be affected. To help you make the most of your travels we’re highlighted some of the main points you need to be aware of.

Before you leave

1.    If you haven’t already done so set up a MyGov account. This will allow you to access your Centrelink account and payments online without having to make any international calls.

2.    Let Centrelink know you’re travelling. While a short holiday is fine, anything longer than six weeks may affect your benefits.

Will my payments be affected?

The longer you’re away the more impact it can have on your payment and associated benefits. 

In the past you could spend up to 26 weeks away before your payments would be recalculated. This has changed, and from January 2017 your payments may be reduced after just six weeks overseas. 

These changes are primarily aimed at foreign born Australians who have lived here for less than 35 years. If you fall into this category your pension will be reduced on a pro-rata basis depending on your time working in Australia. 

What about my other benefits?

If you’re away for longer than six weeks your Pension Supplement will also be reduced. Designed to cover telephone, mobility and utilities expenses, it will reduce to the basic rate. Your Energy Supplement will also stop being paid. You can read more  on the Government's Department of Human Services website

What about my Medicare and health subsidies

Healthcare and medical costs are also worth considering. If you’re overseas for an extended time you should check to see if the country you’re visiting has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia. This covers the cost of essential medical treatment for Australians when overseas.

There are also specific rules about travelling overseas with PBS medicine, and if you’re receiving treatment it’s important to understand your Medicare benefits may not be available. More information is available here

A home away from home

If you find yourself thinking about a more long term arrangement, the Australian Age Pension does make provisions for overseas retirement. You may even be eligible for a part pension from your country of birth. According to Hank Jongen, General Manager for the Department of Human Services, “Australia has social security arrangements with 29 countries which can assist you to claim an Australian age pension while you are outside Australia, or to claim a pension from the other country.” 

In the meantime, please enjoy your holidays, and send us some postcards.

This article is provided for general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and should therefore not be taken as personal advice. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it and, if necessary, you should seek professional financial advice. Before making a decision to invest in the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund, you should read the appropriate Equip Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). 

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