Travelling or living overseas

Last updated: 
10 January 2020

This page explains how your income support pension or payment is affected if you travel or live overseas, and what you need to tell DVA if you are going overseas.

What happens to my service pension, income support supplement or veteran payment if I go overseas to live?

Generally speaking, service pension, income support supplement or veteran payment is payable while you are overseas even if your stay is permanent.

There is one exception to this rule. If you are a former resident of Australia who returns from overseas to claim a service pension, income support supplement or veteran payment, you must remain in Australia for at least twelve months before you can take your pension overseas. This requirement may be lifted in cases where unforeseen circumstances force you to return overseas.

What benefits are not paid overseas?

Only the basic rate of pension supplement can be paid to persons who live outside Australia permanently. Energy supplement, veterans supplement, rent assistance and remote area allowance cannot be paid to persons who live outside Australia permanently.

For more information refer to Energy Supplement, Supplements & Allowances, Pension Supplement, Veterans Supplement and Help with your rent.

If you are travelling outside Australia temporarily, or living outside Australia permanently, you are not eligible to apply for a lump sum advance of your pension. You must be an Australian resident and in Australia at the time you apply for a lump sum advance.

For more information refer to Lump Sum Advance.

If you are travelling outside Australia temporarily, your usual rate of energy supplement and pension supplement may be payable for 6 weeks after departure from Australia.

Those absent for longer than 6 weeks may, until their return, receive pension supplement at the basic rate depending on their income and assets.

Veterans supplement and rent assistance may be payable for 26 weeks after departure from Australia.

If you are absent from the remote area in which you normally reside, remote area allowance continues to be payable for up to 8 weeks.

*Note: veteran payment recipients are not eligible to receive a lump sum advance of their payment or energy supplement.

Claim for a foreign pension

Income support recipients are required to take reasonable action to obtain any pension paid by another country that is similar in nature to an Australian income support pension. Further information is provided in Foreign Pensions.

Family Assistance Payments

For information on how travelling overseas or living overseas may affect your eligibility for family tax benefit or child care benefit from Services Australia, contact Services Australia on 136 150.

What about health care overseas?

DVA will only cover health care expense for treatment of your war-caused disabilities while you are overseas.

For more information refer to Medical Treatment while Overseas.

How will I be paid when I am overseas?

If you are absent from Australia long-term or permanently, your DVA payments may be made every four weeks into your bank account in your country of residence.

The account you nominate must be:

  • in your name, or it may be a joint account with another person; and
  • capable of receiving payments from overseas by direct deposit or international wire.

*Note: - You may elect to maintain an account in Australia for your DVA payments. It is your responsibility to arrange access to your money. Payments into an Australian bank account are deposited every second Thursday.

What if my partner remains in Australia?

If the payment of your supplement or an allowance is reduced or ceases because you go overseas, but your partner remains in Australia and is eligible for the supplement or allowance, it will continue to be paid to your partner.

Recommencement of payment on return from overseas

If payment of a supplement has ceased because of the length of your stay overseas, and on your return you continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the specific supplement, payment of that supplement will resume from the later of:

  • the date of return to Australia; and
  • the date you advise us of your return to Australia.

Obligations

When you are granted an income support pension or payment, and periodically after that, you will be notified of your obligations. You will be required to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance) of changes to your circumstances that might affect the rate of income support pension or payment you receive or your eligibility to receive that pension or payment. These obligations apply equally to trustees.

In relation to your travelling overseas, you would need to tell us within 14 days (28 days if you receive remote area allowance) of your departure, even if it’s only for a short time.

Usually an overpayment of pension or payment will not occur when you have met your obligations. However, sometimes even if you have met your obligations, an overpayment can occur because we have not been able to process the change before the next payday. We do our best to avoid this occurring, but it is not always possible. To provide you with your exact entitlement we are obliged to recover overpayments of pension or payment where they do occur.

Notify us of your departure 

To let us know of your plans to travel overseas you can:

Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 9998
BRISBANE QLD 4001