The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Australian working life residence

Accrual during absences from Australia (1.1.A.320)

AWLR (1.1.A.340) is the number of months that a recipient has resided in Australia between the ages of 16 years and age pension age. Recipients may continue to accrue AWLR during an absence from Australia, PROVIDED THAT they are considered to be an Australian resident during the absence and they have not yet reached age pension age. This means that their proportional rate of pension must be reviewed annually while they are overseas. The term 'AWLR' represents residence during this period only - the person does not have to be in paid employment.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who ā€¦, section 23(5A) to (5D) Pension age

Calculating Australian working life residence

When calculating AWLR:

  • Include the first and last days, for example

    • 3 March to 2 April = 1 month exactly, and
    • 17/7/88 to 16/7/89 = 1 year exactly.
  • Add all periods of Australian residence (which may include periods of temporary absence).
  • When adding, divide excess days by 30 to make up months.
  • After final addition, round up 0 to 29 days to 1 month.


  • 5/7/66 to 17/8/76 = 10 years 1 month 13 days
  • 19/9/85 to 16/3/90 = 4 years 5 months 29 days
  • a total of 14 years 6 months 42 days = 14 years 7 months 12 days
  • round up to 14 years 8 months = 176 months.

Recipients with partners

Generally recipient's proportional rate of pension is calculated using his or her OWN AWLR. Different provisions may apply for people paid under an international social security agreement.

Note: People who were overseas immediately before 20 September 2000 and have not since returned for more than 26 weeks will continue to be assessed under the previous rules. See

Policy reference: SS Guide Overview of portability legislation

Last reviewed: