Aged pension changes are underway for Australians, with certain regulations potentially hitting those travelling abroad hard. Th

While retirees will still receive their pension when travelling abroad, the rate will switch to an “outside Australia rate” after six weeks overseas which will see for those who receive the maximum aged pension rate, a $58 decrease to a single person’s fortnightly payment and approximately $60 per fortnight. This reduction comes as a result of the Energy Supplement being completely withheld while the beneficiary will receive a basic rate of the Pension Supplement.

After 1 October 2018 or the next possible start date after royal accent of the relevant legislation that had already passed the Parliament, the Pension Supplement will be withheld completely seeing single retirees lose approximately $81 and couples some $122 per fortnight from the age pension amount they got paid, if they received the maximum aged pension rate while in Australia.

With more pensioners spending more time overseas than ever before, often looking for a cheaper life in retirement or to enjoy the fruits of their labour especially if they come from CALD backgrounds, it is worth clarifying the entitlements that are still applicable in such circumstances.

Pensioners are asked to notify the Australian Department of Human Services disclosing both their departure and return date on the occasion of being out of the country for more than six weeks as more deductions apply when they leave Australia for more than 26 weeks.

From withholding Pension and Energy Supplements the government will be saving $150 million per annum.

Meanwhile the Turnbull government has already announced in this year’s budget the introduction of stricter residency requirements for pensioners, a measure that would affect predominantly elderly from CALD communities,  who return to Australia after living overseas for a prolonged period of time.  Currently to be eligible to get Age Pension one needs to have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years in total with at least five of these years, of continuous residency.

Under the new regime, which will come into effect when legislation is passed, if an Australian citizen has lived in the country for five years relocated overseas and then returned to the country  will not be entitled to receive the aged pension before he has 10 years continuous Australia residency.

For example if someone who already lived in Australia for five continuous years in the past and returns to Australia at the age of 63, he has to wait until the age of 73, to be eligible for an Australian aged pension as the new legislation on the Enhanced Residency Requirements dictates.