Australian Pensions

Australia pensions

Australian Pensions

What is an Australian Pension?

The Australian Pension, known as the “Age Pension”, is a government social security scheme which pays out a steady income to retirees to help them cope with the costs of living when they’re retired.

Do I qualify for an Australian Pension?

Eligibility is determined by the Australian Working Life Residency (AWLR) rule, which measures how many years you’ve lived (though not necessarily worked) in Australia between the ages of 16 and 65. If you have 35 years or more, you’re entitled to the full amount of Age Pension.

How much Australian Pension will I get?

The Age Pension is means-tested, so how much you receive depends on how much you earn and the value of your assets and investments, such as property, businesses, jewelry, life insurance policies, cars, etc. The Age Pension is also subject to change as your personal circumstances change.

The amount payable tapers off as your income rises, and you won’t receive any Age Pension once it reaches A$2,004.60 per fortnight for single people, and A$3,066.80 per fortnight for couples.

Can I take my Age Pension overseas?

You can normally receive your Age Pension indefinitely, should you choose to retire abroad. The amount you receive is based on how long you’re away for, if your income and assets change while you’re away, and if your pension is through a social security agreement with another country.

After six weeks overseas, your Age Pension will switch to the ‘outside Australia rate’, meaning your Pension Supplement stops.

After 26 weeks overseas, your pension amount will be proportional to your AWLR number of years. For example, if you have 20 years of AWLR, then you’ll be entitled to 20/35ths of your current Age Pension after 26 weeks.

This means pensioners can go overseas for 26 weeks and still receive their regular Age Pension, less the supplement. The majority of pensioners can stay overseas indefinitely and the Age Pension will continue to be paid into either an Australian bank account or a foreign bank account.

What are the options for younger expats regarding their Australian Pension?

If you get the opportunity to move abroad during your working life, you need to be aware of how Australian residency status, AWLR and reciprocal social security agreements will affect your future eligibility. You need at least 10 years’ AWLR in order to qualify for the Australian Age Pension, and you’ll be expected to claim your foreign pensions first. If you intend to leave Australia permanently, you should look into claiming your superannuation (employer-sponsored private pension) as a lump sum.

However, if you come back to live in Australia and start getting the Age Pension, your payment stops if you go overseas during the following 2 years.

Do you need advice regarding your Australian pension?

The rules around the Australian Age Pension payments are complex and can change. Cross-border superannuation planning is always on a case-by-case basis. It’s best to consult with a specialist; speak our financial advisers to get the latest information and help with moving your Australian Pension overseas.

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Andrew Hipshon

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