Re: Australian aged pensioners leaving to live overseas PM Mailbag June 20) – I feel that I should expand on Mr. Bill Neal’s published letter for the benefit of other readers who may be in the same position here in Thailand. I have been attempting to obtain the Australian Age Pension for more than one year and have now given up in disgust. I have letters from the relevant Ministers Office in Canberra and the Senior Advisor, International Services, Dept of Human Services (which is Centrelink) advising me that I cannot apply for the age pension and will never get it unless I return to Australia and live there for two years.
I do maintain an Australian address, a working Australian bank account, and still have a NSW drivers license and seniors card as well as a Medibank card. The problem is that because I have been absent from Australia for more than two years I am now considered a non resident of my own country (where I was born and worked from 18 to 60, all that time paying taxes).
I quote from the correspondence received as mentioned above:
“Australian Citizens are Australian residents. To qualify for the Australian Age Pension, you must then be determined to be residing permanently in Australia.
On returning to Australia for permanent residence, you may apply for the Australian Age Pension. You may leave the country within 2 years of the initial arrival; however, your Age pension will cancel from date of departure. It may only be restored if you return within 13 weeks, and will be restored from date of return only.”
I hope this clarifies the situation.