Aged pensioners shouldn’t go overseas, but pollies are living it up abroad!

In one of our country’s biggest hypocrisies, Aussie pensioners are struggling to visit their families overseas, whilst former politicians live

In one of our country’s biggest hypocrisies, Aussie pensioners are struggling to visit their families overseas, whilst former politicians live it up aboard.

A new viral photo has pointed out that whilst pensioners get penalised for spending more than six weeks overseas, pollies like Joe Hockey still receive huge pension payments!

Under current rules set by the Department of Human Services, your pension payments can be reduced if you spend more than six weeks abroad.

Adding insult to injury, certain benefits like the Energy Supplement can cease completely, even if you’re heading overseas for family or personal reasons.

“Your Pension Supplement will reduce to the basic rate and your Energy Supplement will stop after 6 weeks”, says the Department’s website.

In a stunning contradiction though, politicians like Joe Hockey are still eligible for a pension of $90 000 each year (yep, you read that right) despite living overseas.

As Australia’s envoy to America, Mr Hockey currently receives an annual salary of over $360 000. Not to mention that he will live rent-free in an official American residence!

Joe Hockey has previously accused certain welfare recipients of “double dipping”, so his massive pay packets are a slap in the face to everyday pensioners.

Local Labor candidate Pat O’Neill drew attention to this issue with a recent photo, which is going viral online. Mr O’Neill writes:

“When Joe Hockey is living overseas earning a six figure salary and is allowed to claim a pension, but Malcolm Turnbull wants to cut the pensions of hardworking Australians who travel overseas in their retirement, you have to wonder ‘who does this guy think he is?'”

Are you wondering the same thing?

Do you think that politicians should be allowed to collect massive pensions, even whilst living abroad? Isn’t it unfair that everyday pensioners can’t leave Australia for over 6 weeks, without losing money?

When Joe Hockey is living overseas earning a six figure salary and is allowed to claim a pension, but Malcolm Turnbull…

Posted by Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

  1. I’m finding it hard to understand why they’re making this 6 week rule. What are they going to achieve by it?

    • I thought that you hey it back when you return? I the meantime interest is made for the government on your money!?

    • While we’re away our money is still basically in Australia paying rent, rates, bills etc…. If we have saved and been careful enough to afford a holiday overseas, for whatever reason, we surely shouldn’t be resented it.

      • Coral Abrim  

        The 6 wks rule has been in for quite a few months now!

    • I don’t think it’s a new rule, it’s been around for some time. Friends of mine were away for over 6 weeks, they notified Centrelink of their plan and after the 6 weeks their utility allowance was deducted from their pension.

    • Dale hennessy  

      Again, this is not completely accurate and for those who don’t look up the whole thing, it’s misleading and designed to upset people! If you have lived here for 35 years, then you have no fears and can stay overseas for up to 6 months before pension is reduced…. Also, 350K a year isn’t a huge salary….. Most business people at an bit above middle level earn this much at least. I am sick of journalists picking only juicy sensationalist bits out of a story to stir up those not canny enough to research it themselves.

      • Marianna  

        You are wrong Dale Hennessy. Your pension is most definitely reduced after more than 6 weeks overseas….I know as it is happening to me. 350K a year is a huge salary….I can’t believe you think it is not. Journalists are reporting as it is and quite frankly this is not juicy sensationalist bits but the truth.

    • Hels  

      the 6 week rule has been in for quite awhile, after that you lost your medical benefits & Pension. When you came back your pension etc were restored. Stay longer and you MAY lose your pension depending on how long you are away

  2. My wife spent a whole two weeks in Greece for a relative’s birthday – all fares paid by relative. After her return her pension payment was stopped because although Centrelink had recorded her departure from Aus they had not recorded her return.

    • All I can do is shake my head at that, Robert Hind. I’m not surprised, sorry that happened to your wife 🙁 – SaS

    • Did she contact them to let them know she was back? If so, and they still stopped her pension, Centrelink records all conversations so whilst it might take a while to find that particular conversation, it is there.

    • Judy Green – She did not tell them she was leaving. As she was only going to be away for two weeks she was not required to do so. They picked it up from departure records but did not pick up her return. She was not contacted before the pension was cut, just found out when it happened – then contacted Centrelink and had to give details and proof of her return.

    • It’s like being a prisoner on parole. They’ll be fitting those bracelet things to our ankles next like they do to sex criminals.

    • have you tried contacting Centrelink to try to tell them anything ????Mission impossible.

    • Judy Green you dont have to tell them your back. its sent to them from airport when they record your passport.

    • That is why when we are going overseas later this year, I am going to notify them when we return, just in case. It was probably somebody’s RDO that day, and nobody else checked to see.

      • olga  

        yes Jane Williams I went overseas last November and I went to Centrelink I told them my date of departure and my return, yes after 6 weeks they reduced my rental assistance but only for 2 weeks and after that they returned to my normal pay.

    • Robert Hind about 15 years ago went on holiday for a week to Phuket advised Centrelink for family tax payment A and B of leaving and also on retuning as required to do so. Then my payments were cut I rang and they said I only advised them that I returned and not my 11 year old son. I just assumed it was obvious that if we went on holiday WE returned not just ME what did they think I just dumpted him overseas in a strange country all by himself.

    • Jane Williams The immigration notify centrelink when you return.I used to report to them when I returned and they told me I don’t need to.You must tell them before you leave .

    • I was told I did not have to inform Centrelink when going overseas last year for 10 days and did not have to inform them that I had returned, as when my passport was scanned Centrelink would be informed. I have always rung Centrelink before I leave and when I return. As I work three days a week I have to report my earnings each fortnight. Going away next year for six weeks and I will certainly be ringing them before I go and when I return home.

    • Joe Hockey is a Hypocrite.No wonder he was always laughing when he was on TV . Treating the ordinary people like fools to Finance his elaborate life style. No wonder they are all fighting to get the top jobs.They don’t do anything to deserve it .

    • Same thing happened to us, only went to Bali for a few days, didn’t realize they’d stopped our pension until we went to chemist for our pills. Everything was stopped. !!!

    • Whatever you do – if at all possible – go into a C/L office to report or query ANYTHING – rather than phone – seems to be sooooo more efficient than phoning!!

    • So they should but how about being even handed and getting all politicians off the gravey traing?

    • That happened to my daughter 6 years ago. She, her husband and 2 kids went to NZ to see her father for 2 weeks. When they came home, her parenting payment had been reduced. She rang centrelink and asked why. Their reply was you left your baby in NZ. She said what sort of mother do you think I am and can’t you hear him crying. They said you landed in Sydney and then travelled on to Brisbane … Oh ok, I can see now you did bring him back. It’s a very shoddy way to run a government department.

    • You need to advise them when you return as well even though you may have given them the date of your return

    • Gordon Bowler – problem resolved. But the inadequate information transfer between immigration and Centrelink is a problem.

    • Centrelink and Family Assistance are great at NOT recording things that work in their favour!

    • I was of the opinion that you only need to contact Centrelink if you will be away 6 weeks or more. Immigration and Centrelink are linked, so they are aware when you leave and return. Someone’s head would roll if they did that to me.

  3. The Biggest leaners of all are Politicians, but it gross hypocrisy for the Liberal Party who told us they had to cut pension because we were in a budget emergency to be wasting taxpayers money on rorts. We are being held captive in our own country , it is a case of stay or we won’t pay

    • See Libbi . Hockey has been proved right. All you need to succeed. Is get a good job . Get a good job. And boy has he and the rest of the crettins got good jobs .

    • And the thing is, nothing changes. At least the Greens are negotiating tax reform and the formation of a committee to oversee the travel perks and expenses of all politicians, they are not perfect, but none of the others are doing anything.

    • Well there goes my “Best Marigold Hotel” idea. I reckon my husband and I could both live on the pension until we are 100 and still wouldn’t have used all the taxes we have paid over the years my husband from 14 and myself from 15!! Oh that’s right we have to pay the pollies pensions!!

    • Yes & then they spend $9m on the Lodge so it’s good enough for Malcolm & his wife it hasn’t taken him long to forget his humble beginnings ………polies are the biggest bunch of hypocrites……….. –

  4. If these rules and regulations apply, can somebody please explain to me how some pensioners are able to move to places like Bali and live off their pensions? I can understand the Energy Supplement being stopped as they aren’t using the power. But the 6 weeks absence rule doesn’t seem to apply, And what about some of the people from Greece, Italy etc who get the pension and then go back “home” – and still get the pension?

    • That’s a good question Judy Green, seems unfair doesn’t it? All the rules seem to have changed recently. We’ve popped a link to the Department of Human Services in our article that could explain further 🙂 – SaS

    • Because it hasn’t come in yet.
      But once it does come in those pensioners living overseas will also be hit.

    • I know of a person that lives overseas and had to return to Australia every 6 months to validate their entitlement to an Australian aged pension. I believe the new rule will see some lifestyle changes for these people. My personal view of the 6 week curfew is it needs to be flexible due to individual circumstances.

    • I agree Fred, it needs to be flexible. I have a son who lives overseas and should he ever become ill and needs my help I would be off like a shot, regardless of how long I would need to be with him.

    • Stop picking on pollies. If you got an education and a job with ‘benefits’ you too could live it up in retirement

    • My dad was getting Italian pension of $120 MTHLY it like this if you get too much pension from overseas this one is cut down! It just like if you get too much interest on your money then your pension is cut down! If you wish to go for holiday — why not!!

    • In 2011 I had to spend over a year in England as I needed to live with my dad and be his carer until he died. How on earth could I have done that with this new ruling?

    • Some of those greeks and Italians as you call them are Australian citizens have lived in Australia maybe 30 or 40 years plus so why shouldn’t they visit their families abroad for an extended time

    • My uk pension is counted as income and you can earn up to $6000 a year before losing any Australian pension. So I lose some of my Australian pension. I also don’t get full Australian pension as I’ve not lived here for a certain number of years. And don’t forget, the system is different in the UK and you pay for your future pension out of your income.
      Having said that, the U.K. Pension I get is just £120 a week and I have no idea how pensioners live on that over there.

    • Roselyn Waters – I have a friend who gets a pension from the UK as well as her Aust pension, However, the UK one is only a pittance and the Aust one is adjusted to take it into account – so she ends up square with the Aust pension.

    • Fred Davies – Maybe that’s what the Bali ex-pats do – returen every 6 months. Also to probably have a medical checkup!!

    • I believe if you have worked and paid taxes all your life when retired you can live where the hell you want!!! The measly amount of money the reluctantly pay us! Just think of all they save, free up rooms in nursing homes, and no health payments through Medicare etc. For goodness sake can’t we be happy for a few years before we die?

    • Currently if you go overseas for a period over 6 weeks you have to letvthem know if on Aged Pension and I understood the pension is stopped and then confirm when you return and re – apply. This is on the latest applications for pension so do people just not follow these rules. I don’t understand

    • Anne Phillips the pollies get more than they are entitled to there are rules for them & different ones for the rest of australia and besides we are talking about pensioners that have worked all their life and paid their taxes they are surely entitled to something in their retirement, super was not in when they were working!! but we have now a prime minister that was not voted in by the people of australia who has offshore accounts so he does not have to pay tax, WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT POLLIES, i am very disillusioned by the polllies that are in power, and i mean all parties,and by the way i am of pension age and still work!!!

    • Yes i know of families who get two pensions one from here and one from overseas this rort should definetly stop its away to get money back in to our country.

    • That’s just obscene why do our politicians need a pension they receive enough money while doing the job we have to pay our own supper don’t they we don’t have a full pension why do they .?..

    • Fay Biddle I think you may have your facts wrong. The pension from overseas would be taken in to account and adjusted accordingly with their Australian pension.

    • Rules have changed recently. Yes there are many who come her from overseas who collect two pensions. We can’t if we go to another country. Its cheaper to live in Asia.

    • Peter Burakowski agreed. They have worked and paid taxes in Australia for decades. They have contributed to our country, and raised families here, but they still have families and friends overseas too

    • Listen folks, because these political windbags say the pension is limited, it must be true, it’s a load of crap. A massive cover up.
      You have been paying, & still are, 7.5 % of your income since post 1946 to the old aged pension trust that the Chifley government brought in with Menzies endorsement.
      Frazer stole the fund because it had became a fiscal rape victim & he dumped it into IR. All $470,000,000 of it, in 1977, & he did it with co-conspirator, Bob Hawkes blessing.
      We may not be able to gaol them, but shaming them is still an option, so do it.

    • Currently you can have a million in assets, why shouldn’t you be able to spend some of that on a holiday. The obvious time to do that is after you’re retired. What about thse who have kids OS, and those kids pay for the trip. This government want all pensioners huddled under a blanket quietly starving to death

  5. What a smug arsehole hockey is and was , just a freeloading useless pollie who will be remembered for nothing

    • He’ll be remembered for rorting the system (claiming allowance for living in his WIFES home in Canberra) and causing the country to go downhill financially ….. yeah, he was a great treasurer !

  6. I agree with Irene Follon why six weeks, Australia is very isolated from the rest of the world and some trips require longer than six weeks. Retired politicians that applies to you too, your pension stops after six weeks. Period

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