There have been some Australian overseas pension changes.

From July 1 2014 the rules are changing on how much pension you can be paid while living or traveling outside Australia – for the worse, of course.

If you leave Australia on or after July 1, 2014 and received the Age Pension or, in some circumstances, the Disability Support Pension, Wife Pension, or Widow B Pension, you may be affected.

The changes will apply if you are travelling outside Australia for more than 26 weeks or are paid under the terms of one of Australia’s social security agreements with foreign countries.

To continue receiving your full rate of Australian pension you will generally need to have spent 35 years of your working life between the ages of 16 and pension age in Australia. This is an increase from the current requirement to have 25 years of Australian working life residence. You do not need to have worked or paid tax during this period.

If you have less than 35 years Australian working life residence your rate of payment will be reduced. For example, if you have 27 years Australian working life residence you will get 27/35ths, 77%, of the maximum means-tested rate of payment.

If you are already outside Australia on July 1, 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.

If you’re planning to travel outside Australia you should check how these changes may affect your payments before you go. For more information, go to www.humanservices.gov.au or call 132-300.

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