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.
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!
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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.