Sunset from the window of an airplane above the clouds.

Get organised before taking to the skies in retirement

Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Tickets? Check. Money? Hang on…

Nearly one-fifth of all Age Pensioners travelled overseas last financial year, and the numbers are increasing. The thought of an overseas holiday can be exciting, but the planning can be quite daunting. With the summer holiday period approaching, you might be thinking about taking an overseas trip and now is a good time to find out how this might your Age Pension.

 Generally speaking, if your overseas holiday is less than six weeks, your pension rate will stay the same.  However, if you decide to stay overseas for longer than six weeks, you may notice a change to your supplements and concessions.

After the six week mark, your Pension Supplement will reduce to the basic rate and your Energy Supplement will stop. Your Pensioner Concession Card and Health Care Card will also cancel.

If you are planning an extended overseas trip of over 26 weeks, your Age Pension rate will be based on how long you have lived in Australia as an Australian resident between the age of 16 and age pension age.

You will need to have lived in Australia for 35 years to get a full means tested rate of Age Pension. If you have lived in Australia for less than 35 years, you will receive a proportional pension rate.

If you plan to travel overseas for less than six weeks your rate of payment generally will not change, and you will not need to tell us that you are leaving Australia. Australia’s immigration department will advise us when you leave Australia and when you return.

If you do need to notify the department of your overseas trip, the easiest way to tell us at a time that suits you is to use your Centrelink online account through myGov. In fact Age Pensioners are increasingly taking advantage of online self-services – around 15,000 overseas trips were recorded online by Age Pensioners in 2015/16 financial year with myGov (up from 7,000 in the previous financial year).

Using myGov means you can then get tailored information on how your payments and concession cards could be affected.

More information:

Find out general information about how payments and concession cards are affected by overseas travel.