Q: My husband and I have booked an overseas holiday later this year. Will this impact our age pension?
A: Generally, your payments will continue for the time you are overseas. However, your rate will be reassessed, depending on how long you are away. Once you have been outside Australia for six weeks, your pension supplement will reduce to the basic amount. Your concession card also becomes invalid at six weeks but will be automatically reactivated when you return.
If you are out of the country for more than 26 weeks, your rate of age pension will be calculated on the length of time you were an Australian resident between 16 and age pension age. This is called your “Australian working life residence”. In most cases, the maximum means-tested age pension rate is payable if you have a working life residence of 35 years or more.
As a general rule, age pensioners only need to contact the Department of Human Services if their overseas holiday is expected to last for longer than six weeks. Visit humanservices.gov.au/paymentsoverseas to find out more.
Hank Jongen, Department of Human Services