The Age Pension and Retiring Overseas
As we mention in the chapter introduction, if your main source of income in retirement is the Australian age pension, and you don't have access to substantial other assets, or family overseas, then we don't believe retirement overseas should be considered unless you have guaranteed access to good quality healthcare in the location in which you retire. If one good thing has come out of the corona virus epidemic it is that access to health care in your country of residency has come into retiree focus, when it was often ignored even by those most vulnerable.
The focus of this site is self-funded retirees, but nevertheless we think it's important to outline some of the issues associated with obtaining the age pension - full or partial - while resident overseas.
Firstly, in very broad terms, in order to be eligible for the age pension you need to be resident in Australia at the date on which you first apply for the pension, or in a country with which Australia has an International Social Security Agreement (ISS) . If you reside outside of Australia or the countries with which Australia has an ISS then you will need to return to Australia to claim the pension And be prepared to remain here for at least two years thereafter. This is an increasingly complex area and we encourage you to contact Centrelink to clarify your position, and also to read through the reference below in advance of moving overseas :
Unfortunately, we know of several situations where Australians have retired overseas, in their early 60s, on the incorrect assumption that they would be eligible for an Australian pension at retirement age. Because of inadequate planning, they have placed themselves in a very difficult personal and financial situation.
Secondly, the amount of any Age pension paid overseas may be impacted by your Australian Working Life Residence (AWLR) or years in Australia between the ages of 16 and Age Pension age, and the specific provisions of the ISS, if applicable in your situation. 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 cease. Note that the income and assets test will continue to apply, regardless of your place of residency.