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Aussie Pensioners being forced to live in Australia

A close friend of mine Eric is being forced to return to Australia by the Australian government just to qualify for the old age pension. This after he spent 40 years working and paying taxes to the government that funds his old age pension. Now he can’t live out his last years in Thailand because of some twat at Centerlink won’t approve his application unless he lives in Australia for the next 2 years to satisfy their requirements.
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Imagine this: you worked your whole life in Australia never going overseas never leaving the country and you get laid off by your company during the financial crises your 64 years old you can’t get another job so you say to yourself well that’s it, time to retire. A friend suggests you take a trip to Thailand. Wow imagine the excitement of that guy when he lands on Sukhimvit stays at the Nana Hotel, he wished he’d been laid off years ago. He returns a few weeks later with a few stories from Pattaya now sits in his flat bored to death. “I’m going to retire to Thailand” he says to himself.

Even though he’d been working his whole life he doesn’t have that much to show for it so he sells his flat (apartment) and returns to Thailand and goes through all the immigration rigmarole in order to get the necessary visas to live in Thailand. His satisfied his financial requirements for Thailand by selling his flat bought a place in Udon Thani where he lives with his new 25y/o Thai wife and life couldn’t get much sweeter from him. His funds are still limited but his waiting out for the pension that will see him live out his days here.

You’d think that would be the end of the story and life is great for this guy, that is of course until he returns to Australia to lodge his Age Pension application and gets denied!!

According to Centerlink he doesn’t meet the requirements any longer because he is no longer a resident of Australia. He lives overseas and the only reason he came back to Australia was to get the Age pension. He has no kids, parents are gone and no siblings. He has no phone bill no water bill and no apartment and hasn’t been in Australia for the past 2 years so he is no longer eligible. Before he can make the application again he has to move back to Australia and live there for the next 2 years before he can apply again and get approved.

What kind of country does this to retirees!

Aussie Pensioners being forced to live in Australia

There are many different variations to this story no one has the same but the ending is almost always the same. And even after it’s approved once you leave the country they start taking away money after a few months because you no longer live in Australia (but honestly who can live there now on an age pension almost impossible it’s so expensive!).

So my mate Eric is now back in Australia living with a friend no income because the government won’t give him the pension and just a few months ago life was awesome. He can’t even get his wife to Australia.

So i’m writing this article to let everyone know exactly what they should do to get their age pension from Centerlink Australia while living in Thailand. The biggest advice i’ve got from retirees in Thailand on the Australian Age Pension is to bend the Truth don’t outright lie but provide proof of the bent truth. You can’t lie to centrelink it’s australia’s second biggest company after the Tax office, if you have a bank account they know about it, you leave the country they know about it, centrelink knows more about you that you do yourself! But here are my tips for guaranteeing you get approved even after living in Thailand.

Tips for getting the Australian Age Pension living in Thailand

The reason why they make you illegible even though your an Australian citizen because they are trying to prove your not a resident and it’s the residency requirements that can get you denied. To prove you are a non-resident they have to show clearly that you are a resident of another country like Thailand, don’t give them the proof, don’t tell them nothing about your situation that they can’t prove, say you travelled to Thailand don’t say you live there!
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  1. Avoid having a permanent address in Thailand, that means don’t buy property! To buy property in Thailand you’ll have to transfer a large sum through your Australian bank account in order to make the purchase, yes Centerlink can find that information with a blink of an eye!
  2. Make sure you still have a permanent address in Australia! You don’t have to buy property on an age pension not a good idea especially if your not living in it. To do this put a mates phone bill or electric bill in your name, even if you have to pay it this way you have proof that you have a permanent address in Australia. Your going to have to prove it more than they do.
  3. Slowly bring your money out of Australia before you retire! If you live in Thailand this is easy because there are always people you know coming here, tell them to bring 5 grand here 5 grand there and slowly build your bank roll over here. Doing it this way the government can’t track it. Even using Paypal to make the transfers to a Paypal account here they can’t track either.
  4. Don’t get married! If you marry a Thai girl the Aussie government will find out about it and that strengthens their case not theirs. Avoid relationships! I know it’s hard but make sure the person hanging around is just a friend not a partner.
  5. Don’t have any paperwork overseas, pay cash for everything never use a bank to transfer funds, don’t even transfer funds to Thailand, only use cash! It’s not realistic that centerlink will know that you’ve been living in an apartment in Chiang Mai but it will keep you focused on where you REALLY live. Which needs to be Australia not Thailand.
  6. Keep your main bank account in Australia. Yes you might be able to get your pension or disability or whatever paid to your bank in Thailand, just don’t do it, it doesn’t help your case at all!
  7. Try to start spending more time in Australia. I know that sucks but we all go back, and when you do try to spend as much time in Australia as you can at least a few weeks or more.
  8. Go to the doctors on each return to Australia. Everyone on a pension or trying to get the Age pension in Australia should be going to the doctor with each return to Australia. It’s a good idea but it does help your case, say you go to the doctor to make sure your fit to TRAVEL to Asia and not to live there. Believe me this works. Tell the doctor what you need.
  9. Try going to other countries not just Thailand. The more different stamps you have in your passport the better your case is that your travelling through asia and not living in one place. If you have a few stamps from different countries it does help prove your case.

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Requirements for the Australian Age Pension

To lodge an Age Pension claim you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day that you lodge your claim.

To qualify as an Australian resident you must be living in Australia as:

  • an Australian citizen, or
  • the holder of a permanent resident visa, or
  • a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before that date, or was assessed as “protected” before 26 February 2004.

To be paid Age Pension, you also need to meet the 10-year qualifying Australian residence requirements, unless:

  • you are claiming under an international social security agreement, or
  • you are a refugee or former refugee, or
  • you were getting Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance or Widow B Pension immediately before turning Age Pension age, or
  • you are a woman whose partner died while you were both Australian residents and you had 2 years residency immediately before claiming Age Pension.

Note: The 10-year Australian resident requirement means you have been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years, or for a number of periods which total more than 10 years, with one of the periods being at least 5 years.
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About Chris

Chris founded Living Thai and author of the books Learn the The Thai Alphabet and How to make money in Thailand also the Blueprint for Living in Thailand. Chris started this blog with the aim of educating westerners on how to have the best time in Thailand, to make new friends and to vent his frustrations Chris is also fluent in both written and spoken Thai.

96 Responses to Aussie Pensioners being forced to live in Australia

  1. Banjo November 21, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Good advice Chris, it’s an interesting point whether this “rule” will stand up to a court challenge, or whether it may not even get that far.
    I have heard a claim that an appeal against it was upheld at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which will be good news if it’s true.

    • Chris November 21, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      Australia used to be the place of “the fair go policy”. Seniors arn’t getting a fair go. If you’ve put in the work and paid your taxes it shouldn’t matter where you want to live.

      • Eric November 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

        Great effort guys, yes very sad how the “do gooders get shafted (talkin Aussie now) even war vets get shafted.. my Norwegian dad got a great pension (WW2) serving with the AU, and even when he passed, they looked after mum… now there is a fair thing.. It is discusting how they treat THEIR/OUT elderly.. but pump up their own salarys.. (so again, to all you know it alls, saying TH is corupt blah blah, at least u can deal with it, In AU it is goverment mafia, organised… Shit, I knew this years ago and never paid more super that I had to, they are just crooks…

        I hope ur friend sorted something out, hope to hear more about him, and all my best wishes go to him, cmon guys, if it was you, how would you feel? regardless , it is wrong, F’up and getting more and more like that..

        In my view, and I deal in money so I research a lot, is:

        1/ U aussie do gooders.. they will shaft u, shut up…
        2/ Seep out funds offshore..
        3/ Never give more info than u have to..
        4/ try to live outside the system when u can.

        Big bro is upon us.. we are living in the last stages of freedom.. I used to get annoyed with freedom groups complaining about drivers licence pics.. and I even wanted my pic on my Visa card.. but now I see their point..
        ENDORSE personal freedom rights when u can..
        The implant chip controlling u AGAINST ur best interest will come sooner than u think, dont let them fool u!!!
        God help our children…….

      • lucio November 3, 2012 at 5:19 am #

        Australia never used to be totaly free or democratic country . “YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS YOU TOLD MATE “

    • roger March 21, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      Hi, iam going back to aussie to apply for my aged pension in April, i have lived in Thailand for 4 years i meet all of the criteria to be eligible for the pension.
      Before i came to live in Thailand i contacted center link on two occasions with regards to receiving the pension when i turned 65 on both occasions i was told wont be a problem providing iam back in Aussie when i turn 65.
      But from what i have been told by Center Link one in Perth and one in Hobart is conflicting, in Perth they told me i have to live in Aussie for 2 years before i could receive the pension.
      Hobart told me not a problem i will be paid the pension when i turn 65 but i cannot leave the country for 2 years otherwise my pension will stop and i will have to reapply, i will keep you posted on the outcome after i turn 65

      • roger May 30, 2012 at 7:08 am #

        hi to all of you like to receive the Aussie pension, i have just been back to Aussie having lived in Thailand for 4 years, i made my application and after 6 weeks i was paid the pension which amounts to about 41,000 per month and i lost some money because i have investments.
        The local branches dont have any knowledge of the system if you live overseas, i phoned hobart who look after overseas claims.
        The first time i phoned i was told i could not travel for 2 years, the second time i phoned i was told i could travel but if my stay overseas was to long or went overseas lots it could be reviewed and my payment would stop. also my 2 years would start again .
        Once you have achieved the 2 years payment you can live overseas forever without any problems.
        The problem seems to be the lack of understanding of staff or the legislation is complex and open to who ever you are dealing with, so now iam back in Thailand i tried to send an email to Centre Link but the site was down which happens lots, and the other news is that Human Resources will be handling future claims i think in June 2012 so i think more problems for us, i will keep you posted about my payments if they stop so good luck to all of you

        • Chris May 30, 2012 at 8:05 am #

          thanks for the update roger!

        • geoff sloman October 26, 2012 at 4:28 am #

          Same problem here.
          I am now 69 and have been living in Thailand for 9 years. Have not been back to Sydney for last 4 years. Retired at age 60 and came here. Born in Sydney and worked there (and paid taxes)from age 18 to 60. (42 years).
          Centrelink (soon Human Resources) told me that I must return to Australia and live for 2 years before I can apply for the Aged Pension. My life is here and I have no property or family left in Australia so I cannot return for such a long time. It would cost me more than the ultimate pension I may get. It is so unfair. My U.K. friends who live here can get the Age Pension but it is not indexed if you live out of England…and they complain about that ! My Yank friends here get it without any problem and cannot believe the unfair rule applied to people like myself. I am totally disillusioned with what Centrelink has done to me.

  2. Foxy November 22, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    As an Aussie living and working in Thailand, the ATO says I don’t need to pay tax on my income. So we should remember to be thankful for that if we later decide to retire here. Of course, it probably won’t be long before they try to tax us non-residents as well.

    Unfortunately my Thai wife and I have to return to Sydney next year because my wife will otherwise lose her Permanent Resident status because she’s been a non-resident for too long. Time to go do the time and get her an Aussie passport, then we can leave as long as we want.

  3. Chris Williams November 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Interesting but confusing, I am 71 and living in Thailand. I spent most of my working life in SEA returning to Australia for a few years with my Thai wife, now divorced in 1999. I came back to Thailand in 2010 and I get the govt age pension also Centrelink even offered to transfer at their cost to my bank a/c here in Thailand. Furthermore I get regular updates about the pension rates etc by e-mail. If the man in question spent 40 years in Australia I cannot see why he has a problem.

    • Chris November 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      From the sounds of it you had applied and recieved the old age pension before you decided to return and live in Thailand. You were living in Australia for 2 years before you applied and recieved the pension. Now once your approved then you can leave but not before.

      • Chris Williams November 23, 2011 at 3:49 am #

        You may be right Chris but if the man spent 40 years in Australia he has more than earned his right to an Australian Government pension. It might well be that the Centrelink officer he spoke to is incorrect. I once had a very difficult and intransigent Centrelink officer who not only refused to believe that I was telling her the truth she was also the same person who responded to an appeal I lodged upholding her first decision. I appealed again but this time the first officer was over ruled. The frustrating and most stressful aspect of it all was the time it took to resolve the issue, months of writing and waiting. Eventually I was rewarded with 8 months back pay in the allowance I was claiming.
        By the way I suppose your friend knows that the Aged Pension is not sufficient in itself to be eligible for a “retirement” visa in Thailand. The minimum annual income for that priviege is Bht 800,000 per annum unless he is married to a Thai and then the figure is Bht 400,000. I wish him all the very best of luck.

        • David Walden September 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

          My enquiries indicates that aged pensioners payments are adjusted only after 13 weeks and by only a small amount…this has been the case for long time…the 6 weeks bit only applies to pensions other than aged pensions

        • David Walden September 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

          I find it hard to get a clear answer to this question although I’ve tried:-
          a single Aus aged pensioner after 13 weeks living in Thailand receives $A 19,500 pa Aus pension, when converted to Thai bht this amounts to approx ThB 650,000, If this can be confirmed by Aus Consul and C/link in Thailand does this mean you are now only required to put ThB 150,000 in a bank account in Thailand some people suggest this so I wonder? Your pension would be 650,000 your bank account would be 150,000 total 800,000, would this satisfy the thai immigration…regards David

        • erik October 26, 2012 at 7:54 am #

          800 000 in Thai account NOT per year!!

        • David Walden October 31, 2012 at 6:52 am #

          The amount of 800,000.00 is the amount the Thai gov expects you will need to live in Thailand for a year. I believe this can be made up a gov or super pension that your own gov pays and has to be confirmed by your own embassy in writing. If you dont spend all that amount any left over can be part of the next years 800,000 . It must be in the bank ( no interest) for a least 3 mths before application for retirement visa ( I think there are ways arround it) good luck

        • seeit July 17, 2013 at 5:57 am #

          Bht 800,000 per annum ? nooooo just need to have the funds sit there 3 months prior to Ret V renewal…..

  4. Eric November 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Hey all,

    it will all be a coninuous mess up sure…

    that is why sites like this are better than gold..

    power to the people….

  5. Ron1947 November 23, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Thank you for the information concerning obtaining the Ozzie pension. I’m an Ozzie who has lived in Thailand for 8 years. I intended going back to Oz a week before my birthday in July.apply for the pension and then leave a week later. Based on your information I would be denied a pension. Now I’m not sure what to do or whether your information is 100% accurate nor where to go to obtain a definitive answer.

    • Chris November 23, 2011 at 6:48 am #

      I think everyone had different circumstances this is just one mans story. If I were you i’d contact centerlink by phone but as this guide says never say that you are living overseas say that you are travelling. My mates mistake was he was overly honest and that’s what got him into trouble.

  6. Banjo November 23, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Chris never had a problem because he had been living in Australia for 2 years when he applied. He qualified through the amount of time he had worked in Australia so when he got the pension he could leave the country immediately without losing it.
    Go figure.

    I have a small single issue message board for Aussie pensioners living and traveling regularly overseas and I hope Administer Chris will allow me to place a link to it here.
    I’ll certainly return the courtesy with a link to this article.

    http://dspoverseas.proboards.com/index.cgi

    • Chris November 23, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      I think that’s a good resource. I’m nowhere near retirement age so I really don’t have any experience just what guys here have told me. But I read your board lots of good information there. Great work.

      • Banjo November 23, 2011 at 7:23 am #

        Thanks Chris, there’s a lot of jealousy among expat websites… try getting a link on ThaiVisa… so it’s good to find someone like yourself.
        I’d like to point out that our site offers no professional advice, we are not qualified to do so, but we can offer support and hopefully point people in the right direction.

  7. Banjo November 23, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    Ron1947…
    There is an organisation in Australia called the National Welfare Rights Network, they have a website and are an independent advice group for people dealing with Centrelink.
    You may like to read their site then give them a ring for more information.

    http://www.welfarerights.org.au/default.aspx

    • Ron1947 November 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you very much for the information. I’ve accessed the site you mentioned and it confirms people in my circumstances must stay in Oz for 2 years while receiving the pension before living overseas. I guess they will know how long I’ve been out of Oz simply by looking up the entry & exit custom’s web site.

      • Banjo November 24, 2011 at 1:23 am #

        They’re sneaky like that.
        If you get stuck in Oz for 2 years you may as well appeal the decision, doesn’t cost anything and will help people coming along later.
        Make sure you write to your MP and complain as well.

  8. Barnsy November 26, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Hi all, I am turning 50 in january and married to a great lady in the philippines and we have 2 tin lids, I have been on dsp since march 2004 ans want to be able to live with my family there, I have looked into bringing my family here, but not possible because i am on dsp. I just want to be happy and care for my family. if i had $1000 au a month i could live the comfortably with my family. but they will not let me. I wish they would get there act together and stop breaking families up and forcing people further into deeper depresion.

  9. Chris Williams November 26, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Forgive me Barnsey I’m getting on in years and I’m a little confused, but where is “there” and “here” and who is “they”, do you mean the Aust. authorities in Australia, Thailand or the Philippines? Is it that you want to live in the Philippines but you are not allowed to so you have looked at moving to Thailand?

  10. jack December 18, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    australia what a fucken failure

  11. majorie west March 22, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    My husband and I are looking to invest in Phuket for our future and move there in about 5 yrs. We will not even be the age to get the pension. How would we go if we kept our property in Australia and then lived over there ??? is that a way around this whole problem??
    p>S I love this site

    • Eric March 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Sounds unclear what the problem is.
      I sold up and moved 3 years ago from Aus, bought a large house and 4 investment units which seem to have doubled.

      My Aussie friend keeps his cash in the bank in Aus at 6.5% and lives off that..

      Visas: did hve the WP and all but a waste of cash unless u do work here, so am now on an EDU visa…

      This pension thing really stinks doesn’t it…

  12. Rex April 1, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Yes, the 2 year rule is true re Thailand but after that they will transfer your pension to a Thai bank A/C.
    I heard that (I hope not true) now you have to report to CenterLink every 3 months in person when on the retirement pension ???

    • Chris April 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Can anyone help rex out?

    • Ron April 2, 2012 at 3:15 am #

      I now a couple of people living in Thailand receiving the Oz pension. They say that they report via Centrelink web site.

    • David Walden February 5, 2013 at 3:49 am #

      not true, if you live in Thailand on a retirement visa you have to report to immigration there every 3 months…once granted the Aged pension in Aus you can live anywhere in the world you will loose some of the small Pension supplement but not much overall. If you don’t have a house you can also have up to $325,000.00 invested and not effect the pension

      • roger August 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

        Iam just going through this bullshit 2 residency period for the aussie pension. i turned 65 on the 28 th of april 2012 after returning from living overseas for 5 years mostly in thailand.

        i applied for the pension and it was granted , i left for overseas again to do voluntary work in Cambodia and i was away for 3 months, i was paid 3 months back pay for the period i was away.

        i stayed for 2 months and returned to Thailand and Cambodia to do voluntary work at all times i presented documents to show that i was doing volunteer work i was away for six months.

        On returning i was told i would not be paid for the six months i was away and so i accepted that decision.

        I then returned to Cambodia and Thailand for 3 months and i was told prior to leaving that it was ok for me to go and would be paid for the 3 months i was away,.

        while away i asked the International Team in Hobart if i still had my 2 year residency status in place and after 1 hour on the phone i was told %100 all ok for me and after the 1st of April 2014 i can live overseas without coming back to Aussie, amd all was ok.

        I arrived back in Aussie 10 days ago to stay for the last 7 months of my 2 year residency period and was told by Centrelink that no i would not be paid and that i would have to stay for another 20 months to finish my 2 year stint.

        i was told the I nternational did not know what they were talking about and were wrong.

        so now its up for appeal and iam waiting to hear, so for me regardless what they tell you it can be changed at any time, sadly they refuse to put it in writing, i will let you know of the outcome

  13. Richard Raymond April 13, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Australia is a sick country every one has to be controlled by the government not a lucky country as it was once.

  14. Ron April 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I disagree. I went to the Dr today for an annual check-up, waved my Medicare card and it cost me nothing. I have a seniors card as I’m over 60 and can travel anywhere in the city for only $2.50 which is good for multiple trips in any one day. But, yes my waterloo will be in July when I apply for the pension and then request to return to Thailand. I’ll wait a couple of months after getting the pension before enquiring about returning to Thailand.

  15. gerald young April 27, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Can someone tell me if it is possible to get a fiance or spouse visa for my overseas girlfriend to come to Australia if I am on a DSP or Age Pension?

    • Ron May 30, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Just ring and ask Centrelink in Australia. They are actually very helpful.

  16. roger June 1, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Hi i mentioned that i had received the Aussie pension and had returned to Thailand, well i left Aussie on the 22nd of May and my pension payment was stopped from the 15th of May until the 21st of May $290.00 because i had left the Country and it wont be paid unless i return to Aussie it just shows they are on the ball with Immigration but with regards to the giving out consistent advice from Hobart on your rights that is sadly lacking consistent with Government departments in Aussie

  17. lucio August 2, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Yes you are intitled a Australia aged pension abroad if :
    You are 65 and worked untill last day.
    Worked minimum of 25 years
    You are Australian Cittizen
    Past asset test in Australia
    Applied for aged care pension beffore living permanently Australia .
    If you qualify for all the above , you ca apply for a aged pension and to be send to country of your choice .

  18. Chris Williams August 2, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    I am afraid Lucio that the conditions set for Aged Pensioners have changed from July 1 2012. The length of work experience in Australia is now 35 years. Unfortunately any pensioner who is resident overseas and receiving the pension now and was eligible regarding the 25 year rule has to face new stringent conditions. If he/she returns to Australia for a period of more than 6 months then he/she leaves Australia or otherwise lives in Australia then that pensioner must meet the same requirements that all others do.

    That means he must now have had 35 years work experience in Australia to be eligible for the aged pension.
    Furthermore any aged pensioner that takes a holiday overseas for more than 6 weeks loses all benifits other than the basic pension until he/she returns. The only exception is Pensioners on a disability allowance. They continue to get paid all allowances.
    That’s some of the changes and if you want to knpw more then I suggest you call Centrelink.

    Kind regards

    Chris Williams

    • Chris August 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      Man that sucks, I only works in Australia for what maybe 3 years, what if you’ve never worked say you were a stay at home mum you’re whole life then they don’t get it?
      For the older guys who relied on this it’s just sad, the new generation realise you can’t trust the government to look after you you need to make you’re own plans.

      • bruce April 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

        I am from n.z. but have worked in aust for the last3.5 years,i am 65 in june and want to retire in Thailand,according to centrelink ,I only have to have worked for 10 years in both nz and aust to qualifiy, then the pension is made up by both countrys,and I can retire any were I like. too easy.

    • Graeme January 28, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

      Your 100% wrong Chris, its still 25yrs next year 1st Jan 2014, they try changes. hope this helps

    • David Walden February 5, 2013 at 3:42 am #

      I not too sure Chris that you are correct, the Disability Support Pensioners (DSP) recipiants will loose all benifits, all Pension and pension supplement after being absent from Aus after 6 weeks from 1/1/13. Single Aged Pensioners will continue to receive the aged pension forever of $745.00 p/f, but they will loose some of the pension supplement which is about $50 p/f after 6 weeks which has changed from 13 weeks as from 1/1/13

      • Graham January 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

        That’s spot on David

        Age Pension

        You can get Age Pension for the whole time you are overseas, regardless of whether you leave Australia temporarily or permanently.

        However, the amount of pension you receive may change if you remain outside Australia for more than 26 weeks. Whether or not your payment amount changes will depend on how long you have lived in Australia between age 16 and age pension age.

        This is a cut and paste straight off Centrelinks website(January 3,2014). The change referred to is the supplement not the base pension itself. I’m 51 years old and setting up my retirement now (which will be at 67years old) and have been trawling info all over the net for weeks.Though I’m a Kiwi I’ve lived and worked in Aussie since 1992 and have been checking my eligibilty status-dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s as it were. I will qualify at 64years old for the new 35 year working (residency) requirement (I came here as a sprightly 29year old) and have never left except holidays.I’m a ‘protected’ SCV visa holder for those who are interested.Great info here and more than a little confusion it seems which is why I’ve pored over all the info I can find over the last few weeks asI was confused myself at first. I WILL be speaking to my accountant AND Centrelink about taxable and non taxable income streams from investments because I don’t want to end up like some of these poor buggers getting caught outside eligibilty requirements. Structuring my retirement is the SMARTEST thing I’ve ever done. Yes I’d do it tough trying to retire here as it’s so bloody expensive for everything. Fantasic to find this website and all the best to everyone here.Travelling to Thailand this year to set up my bank account..can’t wait. Peace.

  19. lucio August 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Well governament is in title to change their opinion or law as we have a stupid woman on helm. I was also planing to choose enother country and live better on the age pension . but it look like i will fail short 5 years with a new laws.I am originaly italian and come to Australia in my early 20. I keep always saying that if you pay maffia you get protected better than you pay governament , and do not steal from the governnament as they do not like competition. At least i was vendicated . In Europe to get a full pension you must work 35 years but if less you still get pension reduced as per years you worked . So much for a country of milk and honey turn into communist state . I fell sorry for me and for the rest of you guys . That proves that monarchy will shaft you at the end one way or enother . I wonder how much they will jup in the air if they have to pay taxes for so many years .Small people will be small regardless of the country name .

  20. Ron August 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    I have read all of the above information which seems to be contradictory. I have just been through the process and my best advice to you is to ring Centrelink Internation Services on 131673 within Australia or 61-362223455 reverse charge from overseas. They are most helpful and provided you answer their questions truthfully you will be advised correctly on your situation. The law is very complex therefore being forthright and also asking for a receipt or reference conversation number is very important should a future problem arise. One key point is to be sure that you are in Australia working at the time of aplying for the aged pension, the amount of which is quite generous considering.

  21. Ron August 3, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Lucio and all those other concerned people, here is the web-site with the new 35year rule. You can still retire overseas but the payment is pro-rata. So if you have lived in Oz for only 25 years, then after 1/1/2014 you would receive 25/35ths of the full pension while living abroad.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201213/ResidencyPortability

    I hope this helps and reduces all the anxiety.

  22. lucio August 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    To Chris and Ron. I live in Mildura and yesterday i went to a phone with Centrelinks .To get a pension abroad you have to : Be Australian cittizen.Pass asset test .Lived in Australia for 25 years or ower,and applied for the aged pension before you live Australia as it has to be approved by centrelinks . This is all carent from 01.06.12 . Remember you do not have to work for 25 years only be a permanent resident continuosly in Australia .
    For the rulle of 35 years the legislation is not passed yet . It is planed to pass in parlament in 2014 , where you have to live in Australia for 35 years or more . Either way , i am qualifiy for the aged pension . As a male Nurse and working most of my life in Australia i come to conclusion that my standard of life will significantly demisish so i am seruosly consider enother country to be rest at peace as here will be very tough going on the aged pension .My electricity bill come the other day 1253 dollars , and will get worse. I was wright advised my my fellows Italians years ago . Pay a maffia becouse maffia will protect you , as the governament will not . How true . Australia governament is lately also try hard to renlinqish responsability towards age care Australian fellow cittizen as they are no longer tax payers and therefore no use to governament . Furthermore they tray to make a new Aged care Industry out of oldies by trying to strip them from a life assetts to put them in private nursing home by curent entry fees exceeding 200.000 big ones . I know as i curently work in aged care . My addvice is : stick to the young sheilla in Thailand and i wish you (like only one mman wish to enother fellow men ) hard for ever bellow. The only medicine that can cure old age is Viagra and Cialis . Take care ….Lucio

  23. lucio August 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Can enybody of you guys living in Thailand tell me how you get permanent residency in Thailand ? Can you get residency , providing you are married to Thai national ? Thanks

  24. David Walden September 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    If you have lived in Aus for 25 years, reach 65 yrs and wish to live in Thailand on the aged pension (only) as I understand you will receive the full pension for at least 13 weeks (the 2 year bit may change?), it will be then reduced by about $15 p/f this being the pharmacy, telephone and some other small amount which is only available if spent in Aus…if the period of residency is less then the 25 or ( 35 yrs soon to be), a complex calculation will be made as a fraction of time spent in Aus eg. 15 years will be 15 over 25 or you will only be entiteled to 60% of the pension. Returning to Aus is not required to maintain the aged pension, this I believe is not the case for other pensions. Recipiants of invalid, sickness, single parent or many of the other payments will stop after 6 weeks

    • Ron September 14, 2012 at 2:06 am #

      Thailand has what is called a retirement visa. Basically you need an income of 60,000baht/month which is about $2000/mth. You can have a mix of both pension and money in a Thai bank account. The easiest method is to have 800,000 baht deposited in a Thai bank account. This meets the requirement. On renewal each year you will need to show how you are financing your retirement. Centrelink will even pay your pension monthly into a foreign account. Admitedly the pension only translates to about 450,000 baht a year but you can live on that here quite well. The real challenge is health insurance as you can buy one in Thailand from a Thai company once you are over 60. I buy a travel policy each year but have to return to Oz, my country of residency, each year to purchase another one. You can buy an expat health insurance policy but it will cost about $300/mth.

      • Ron September 14, 2012 at 2:08 am #

        Oops. I meant you CAN NOT buy one…………(health ins).

      • Chris September 14, 2012 at 2:11 am #

        I have health insurance from Bupa costs 10,000 baht a year i’m sure it’s not like the best but it’s better than nothing I suppose.

        • Ron September 14, 2012 at 2:22 am #

          Chris, I thought you were under 60. I’m 65.

        • Chris September 14, 2012 at 4:22 am #

          I am I’m 32 retired already but can’t get this visa because my age doesn’t qualify! oh well, was just saying about the insurance, my dad is over 55 lives here and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t pay $300 a month through Bupa worth checking out which is why I mentioned it.

  25. Chris Williams November 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I work with the Royal Thai Police Immigration Service in Phuket advising foreigners what they need to know regarding Long Term Visas. For your information an applicant for a Retirement Visa can have either savings of 800,000 Baht in the bank or at least 65,000 Baht per month income or a combination of both that add up to 800,000 baht per year. If it’s money in the bank option it must be in a Thai bank for two months on the very first application for the Ret. Visa but three months on every subsequent application. The money in the bank option must be accompanied by a letter from the Thai bank confirming the 800,000 Baht deposit along with all copies of the pages of the applicants bank book. The money in the bank option does not require a letter from the applicant’s embassy or consulate.

    If the application is based on annual income then a letter from the applicants embassy or consulate is required confirming that the applicant does receive the amount he claims to be getting. The Australian Embassy will not give anyone a letter confirming income but will acknowledge sighting a stat dec completed by the applicant. The application for the Ret Visa must also include copies of document evidence of the source of the yearly funds, a copy of the applicant’s ATM card (face only, not the back). The applicant is not required to get a letter from the bank.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    • Chris November 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      What are the age requirements for that in Thailand?

    • seeit July 17, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      @ Chris Williams, or anyone else who knows.. is there any benefits of a Retirement visa over an Education Visa?

      Thanks all….

      • Chris July 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        The yearly fees are cheaper. However you need to have money tied up. I don’t see any benefits to it.

  26. Chris Williams November 3, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    The applicant must be 50 Years old.

  27. john December 15, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    i am a citizen of australia and israel
    having worked in australia for 14 years can i get my aussie pension and return to sign in 4 times a year ,but before i apply to centre link i want to get it correct i am approaching 65

  28. Banjo December 16, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    It’s not enough to be a citizen you have to be a resident as well.
    If they consider you to be a non-resident you are still eligible for the Old Age Pension but you lose it if you leave Australia in 2 years of being granted it.
    If you haven’t been back to Australia for a while you would be well advised to find out.
    There is currently no return requirement on the OAP. I f you stay overseas you lose the Pension supplement, about $30 a week after 26 weeks.

  29. dok49 January 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Ok, I’m trying to figure out what to do? I am an Australian citizen who is also an American citizen. My Social Security from USA will amount to about $800 a month USD. I am currently on a DSP form Australia and I go to the Philippines reg. but, now it will be for only 6 weeks at a time. My quandary is what to do before or after I turn 65. I turn 65 on Feb. 2014. One month after the new changes are proposed to make it 35 years instead of 25 years to get the full pension for OAP. I immigrated to Australia in July of 1990, so my time in Australia as a resident is about 24 years. So, I will lose a lot if I lose my residency by living overseas permanently? Do, I try for the Permanent disabled label or move to OAP? I would get some USA social security but, is it worth it? Do I move out of the country before I turn 65 or keep my residency by going back and forth, I’m so confused and dont want to lay my cards all on the table to Centrelink. PS: I also have a 401K in the USA that is worth a fair bit. If I take it and my residency is not in the USA then they dont care about taxes? Right? Any help or advice from anybody?

  30. Chris Williams February 1, 2013 at 5:07 am #

    You could ask Centrelink International any questions you like. I do get straight answers from them.
    Use a John Doe name if you want or just anonymously. You do not have to give your real name. I’m only guessing here but if you qualify for a pension according to the time spent in Australia you will be given a reduced Age pension. For example I have a Commonwealth Super pension of roughly $600+ a fortnight. Centrelink pay me approximately $470 a fortnight although because I’m overseas CL do not pay me any allowances such as medical.
    There is much confusion amongst us who rely on money from government sources. I have met several guys who say they have to go home once every year or they miss out on the pension. I rang Centrelink about that and they say it is not required for me to report home every year just to get the pension. I also know many in my situation here in Thailand and they don’t go home every year.
    I often wonder if all the confusion is brought about by whoever you speak to in Centrelink . Is it possible that each CL office has a different understanding of the Aged Pension Requirements?
    Good luck in your coming endeavours.

    • geoff sloman February 1, 2013 at 5:36 am #

      Regarding this post. I also get a Commonwealth Super Pension paid into my Australian bank account. I live in Thailand fulltime.
      You say you also get the Centrelink Age Pension. Did you first get that before living in Thailand or after you moved here ? If you first got it whilst living in Thailand I would be very interested to learn how ? All of my enquiries with CL tell me that I must return to Australia and live there for 2 years before applying. I fullfill all the other requirements of CL to claim the age pension. Thanks.

  31. Ron February 1, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    I now receive an aged pension and live in Thailand but needed to live in Australia before applying. If you go back to Australia just for the purpose of claiming the pension, then you can be denied, according to C/L International. I agree with C. Williams post, but it guarantees nothing. The legislation is so complex, (I’ve read it), that many areas are open to interpretation based on how C/L staff view the genuineness of your answers with respect to your true intentions. In the end it is Commonwealth’s money paid out of current tax revenue. There is also an independent appeals process. Good luck.

  32. Chris Williams February 1, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Yes Geoff, I did get it before leaving Australia but I was in ignorance at that time that I had to be resident in Australia for two years to qualify. It was just luck for me. I lived in SEA for 30 years and went home with a Thai bride for a few years before reaching 65. I worked for many years with the Telstra in Australia and the Australian Develpment Assistance Bureau in PNG, Brunei, and Indonesia so qualified for length of service.
    I don’t know if it would help but surely if there was enough people approaching their Member of Parliament complaining something might be done about this crazy rule. It would be interesting to know if it legislation or a Human Resources Department edict about the two year rule. If it’s a HRD rule it wouldn’t be as difficult to change one would think.

    Chris Williams

    • Gerard March 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      It’s legislation! I sought help from my local MP but no interest was shown to the problem, other than simply regurgitating what Centrelink staff had already told me; it’s legislation!

  33. Ron February 1, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    It’s specifically stated in the legislation with the addition aside saying that C/L staff do not have the discretion to vary the regulation.

  34. Chris Williams February 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Ron, I’d very much like to read the legislation. Is it available on line? About C/L staff not having the discretion to vary the regulation; that may be true but it’s possible the rules could be interpreted differently by different people, yes? I suppose it depends on the way the language is couched.

    Thanks for your input to this discussion.

    Chris Williams

  35. David Walden February 5, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    It seems that there is considerable confussion about the Disa bility Support Pension (DSP) (for people too sick to work and under 65) and the Aged Pension. From 1/1/13 the DSP will cease completly after 6 weeks if you leave Aus to live overseas, you will have to re-apply when you return to Aus. (don’t let it happen) The Aged Pension which is for people over 65 yrs is granted for life, it is subject to residency and asset matters, once you are granted the aged pension you can live almost anywhere in the world…both are made up of a pension amount for a single person of around $750.00 P/F and a pension supplement of about $50 P/F. For people living overseas and receiving the DSP all of it will stop after 6 weeks from 1/1/13. There are people living out of Aus who will now have to return to Aus ( and are not happy). If you are an Aged Pensioner and living overseas you only loose some of the pension supplement after 6 weeks, you will not loose the $750.00 Aged Pension. Many recipiants of the DSP are putting comments on line at present saying that all pensions will stop, it will for them unless they return to Aus by about 12/2/2013

  36. MAURICE 47 February 28, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Hi, I need urgent Help! I am living in Thailand with No Money!Turned 65 Last May. I have applied for Aged Pension and been rejected in all Areas! I am Medically Unfit to Fly! I can not go back to Australia.I need help in getting the Australian law changed for people like myself, and who to Contact. I went through Legal Aid in Australia & they said can not help me The Law Has To Be Changed! Thank You Maurice

    • Joel June 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Ok….. I have written in to my local member asking they ensure they never change the law…. Pathetic that cunts like you think you can live in Thailand, yet demand Australians in Australia support you…. How about you go fuck yourself! :) You, Chris and the pople like you will live in the crappy 100k baht a month lives you gave yourselves….I will enjoy my better living standard, and enjoy the fact a cockhead like Chris will be in your place soon enough…

      • Ezy E November 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

        Hey Joel,
        I just read your comment to all the people who have lived and worked all their lives in Australia, paid taxes all their life and wish for a better life in Thailand.
        How about you go Fuck yourself. If these guys choose to live in Thailand on an old age pension that they well deserve Good luck to them.
        That’s what they deserve after working and paying taxes all their live. Shut your mouth you pathetic cunt.

      • Garry Graham January 10, 2014 at 10:11 am #

        Hey Joel numb nuts, I fought for the country you now live in and so did my dad, How dare you say we 65yr olds are not entitled to some Gov pension for our service to our country no matter where we choose to live in. But I Think I must explain to a stupid imbicile like you who I believe will be high on anything he can obtain to realize A crappy baht is sooo much better than living on the streets in Aus.

  37. Richard March 1, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Question for Chris Williams and Geoff Sloman. In recent posts you mentioned that you receive Commonwealth Super pensions. I’m also on a modest Comm super pension and am thinking of moving to Thailand and buying a condo. Problem is that people who become non residents in Australia for tax purposes lose the whole tax free threshold, and pay tax on their entire income at 32.5 cents in the dollar. Do you know if Comm super pensions are treated differently from other income, and are not affected?
    Thanks
    Richard

  38. Chris Williams March 1, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Hi Richard,

    My address with the ATO is an address in Australia. I don’t have an official overseas address. My CSS pension is paid into an Australian bank account because CSS will not remit any money overseas. Centrelink will but only once a month and that is very inconvenient for me as it’s a long time between drinks, therefore all the pension money is paid into my Aust bank a/c each fortnight.
    If you wish to notify the CSS and Tax department of your overseas address this is entirely up to you and it seems you already know the financial responsibilty for that . Good Luck.

    Now for another matter sometimes dicussed on this forum; Centrelink pensioners being told to return to Australia every year.
    I had a customer today in immigration who, after I told him he didn’t have to, wrote to the Minister asking him if this was true. He had a positive reply telling him no, he didn’t have to. He has now sent in a claim to Centrelink for all costs he incurred buying flight tickets etc. He has been told that because he has the name of the Cemtrelink lady that told him he had to come home once a year he has an 80% chance of being reimbursed all costs. That’s one piece of good news for sure.

    Chris

    • Richard March 2, 2013 at 4:12 am #

      Understood, thanks Chris

  39. Chris Williams May 4, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I’m very sorry to hear of your plight. It’s possible if you cannot fly that you might get an extension on your current visa for up to 90 days i.e. provided you get a doctors certificate from a recognised hospital in Thailand (not a doctors private clinic) stating that you absolutely cannot fly. I’m told that some foreigners who state they cannot fly as an excuse to prolong their visa are told to leave by bus.

    You could do that too and get another tourist visa TR60 from Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia. If you’re really stuck for money then go to your embassy in Bangkok and ask for assistance. I hear they can help you but you must repay the loan over time once back home. As for changing the law in Australia that takes a long time but may I suggest you write to your Federal Member of Parliament as a start. Very best of luck.

  40. mike May 6, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    this is the law mate, make sure you read it before making moves.

    all countries have it.

  41. Scott taylor June 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Thanx for the info ,is there anywere to send our disgust or pensioner lobby groups to contact??,iam ritired at 50 and been thailand now 3yrs iam so glad i wont be paying anymore taxes ,has ive always thought ill be lucky to get a pension,the system sucks,yet its ok to be a refugee or such thats never worked still get a pension what a joke and an insult to the workers whos paid there dues,who would want to retire ,or could afford to retire in that boring shithole

  42. Joel June 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Oh My God! An Australian, collecting Australian Benefits is required to complete the same standard checks any other Australian is required to undertake!

    Lets riot! Burn down parliament! Kill the PM! All in the name of some fuck wit who couldn’t arrange enough super, and thus needs to live off the 50k i pay in tax a year.

    • Garry Graham January 10, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      You Work for center link

  43. dok49 July 17, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    With respect to you Joel: I appreciate your opinion and the right to express it. Some people are just different in their needs and wants. I learned a long time ago from some very smart people that it is alright to arrange your taxes and living situation to suit yourself. If it causes you problems later in life then you just have to face up to it and make the most out of your situation. If you are not happy paying that much tax and not happy with how your government uses that tax then there are systems to change and have your voice heard. Good Luck with that. One day you may change your opinion and be grateful for the help you receive in benefits that those taxes of yours and mine provide for you and others. Try not to be so angry, it’s bad for your health and mental well being. And your language doesn’t impress anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence. It only hurts you because it makes you look lame.

    PS: The rule on the 35 years is nt law yet and may never be, so lets stop telling everyone that it is.

  44. chris Williams July 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    An Ed visa doesn’t require money in the bank but they are getting harder to get,. Thai Immigration officers are demanding attendance records and have on occasions limited Ed visa periods for three months requiring the holder to return to Immigration for progress reports. This may not be the case for all Thai Immigration Offices. Note too that if you don’t have an Non O visa now you must get one from outside Thailand in order to get a ED visa. The School that you attend also determines the length of time you stay here set by the course you have chosen to undertake.
    A retirement visa requires you to have either 800,000 baht in the bank for 2 months, on the first application. Further RV apps require 3 months. You do not have to leave the money in the bank for the entire year, just the 2 or three months prior to the application.
    The next alternative is to have an income greater than 65,000 baht a month. This must be confirmed by your Embassy along with proof of the source of your funds.
    Finally you can have a combination of money in the bank and Income amounting to 800,000 baht..
    You do not need to leave the country to get an O visa if you are here on a Tourist visa, i.e on arrival or a 60 day visa. But you can buy an O visa for 2000 baht then the Retirement visa for 1900 baht.

    • Chris July 19, 2013 at 2:37 am #

      What’s the current age limits for retirement visa, how old do you have to be?

      • Chris Williams July 19, 2013 at 5:16 am #

        You must be 50 and above to get a Ret Visa

    • seeit July 19, 2013 at 3:24 am #

      @ chris Williams – Thanks, a great bit of info there and good effort..

      So, just a quick one if u don’t mind and sorry to readers for off topic –
      I am on an EV right now, and wondering if there are any shortcuts to changing to a RV? Or am I guessing correctly I need to leave TH and come back on the Tourist V?
      Thanks for ur time..

  45. Chris Williams July 19, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    An EV is a Non Immigrant ‘O” visa. You do not need to leave Thailand and return to get a Ret Visa, but don’t forget the money in the bank or income requirements and you must be 50 years old and over. Some Immigration officers may ask for you to return within the last month of your current “O” visa whatever type “O” visa it is and then apply.. Others don’t. But you do not have to leave Thailand.

  46. Rene E Perez March 24, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Sirs, I understand that conveniently Australian Government: on International Human Services does not get advises from university professors on overseas pensions policies but from fat cats politician member of parliament etc with bank mentality in social issues (crook as many politician are) whom do not respect ex worker-retires which have made this country contributed the healthy way that the nation is now but the denial of human rights, appreciation and dignity of retires and we know what social class is affected by their decision no the wealthiest but ex labours,, people whom could not accumulate enough wealth for retirement, all people whom have chosen another country is for affordability in stretching the $20,000 a year if Australian Centerlink dare to paid overseas pension? The USA pay their more than two million retires living in Mexico without complain; retires built the country they deserve it!!!
    The faceless politician/lawyers who make this laws they have very rich pension for life and by law but not the unlucky ex-worker or a tax number unknown people!!
    Regards to all my social class
    Rene E Perez of Sydney

  47. ron March 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Rene,
    Yes, we pensioners have contributed to Australia’s wealth, but unless through voluntary work, we all received wages for doing so. The world owes us nothing for doing nothing, so we should be grateful for receiving something (pension) for doing nothing in return.

  48. bruce April 21, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    I think it is better to claim the n.z. pension. not so much red tape????????

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