Payment overseas of New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pensions and main benefits

Introduction

There are three main provisions that allow New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pensions and main benefits to be paid to overseas residents:

  • social security agreements which allow New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pensions and some main benefits to be paid overseas
  • the special portability arrangement for Pacific countries which applies to all 22 Pacific countries and covers New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension
  • the general portability provisions which apply to all countries with which New Zealand doesn’t have a social security agreement, or are not covered by the special portability arrangement for Pacific countries, and again covers New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension.

Current social security agreements

New Zealand currently has social security agreements with Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Greece (the Hellenic Republic), Canada, Denmark, and Jersey and Guernsey. An agreement was signed with Italy in June 1998, but it has not yet been ratified by Italy.

People who have come to New Zealand from overseas may qualify for certain New Zealand benefits or pensions under social security agreements because periods of residence or social security contributions in a country with which New Zealand has a social security agreement can be used to meet the residence requirements for New Zealand benefits and pensions.  People may also qualify for certain New Zealand benefits and pensions under social security agreements while residing overseas.

Australia

The agreement covers New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pensions and Invalid's Benefits for people with severe disabilities. Under this agreement, individual pensioners receive dual payments (one from each government, according to the proportion of the individual's working life spent in each country).

People going to Australia can use their periods of residence in New Zealand to help them qualify for the Australian benefits or pensions covered by the agreement. Conversely, periods of residence in Australia will assist people coming to live in New Zealand to qualify for New Zealand benefits or pensions covered by the agreement.

Benefit reimbursements from New Zealand to Australia, which were calculated under the provisions of the previous agreement, continue to be made. Reimbursement amounts are set out in the new agreement and should phase out in approximately 2015. The reimbursement for the financial year beginning 1 July 2007 was NZ$60.9 million (AUD$50.9 million).

At the end of June 2008 there were 4,918 people receiving Australian benefits and pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 13,922 people entitled to New Zealand benefits and pensions in Australia. Of these, 11,055 people were entitled to New Zealand Superannuation, while 36 were entitled to Veteran's Pension and 2,831 were entitled to an Invalid's Benefit.

The United Kingdom

People going to the United Kingdom (UK) can use their periods of residence in New Zealand to help them qualify for a UK pension and certain other social security payments. People coming from the UK to New Zealand can use periods of UK residence to help them qualify for a New Zealand benefit. In addition, UK pensions are paid to New Zealand residents under UK domestic law.

At the end of June 2008, there were 41,359 people whose entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pension or a main benefit was affected by a United Kingdom Pension being paid into New Zealand.

The Netherlands

People who have lived in New Zealand may, under the terms of the agreement, qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pension, Invalid's Benefit, Widow's Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefit for widowers while they are living in the Netherlands. The rate of payment is based on whole months of residence in New Zealand since age 20.

Anyone arriving in New Zealand from the Netherlands may use periods of residence or contributions made in the Netherlands to meet the residence criteria for New Zealand benefits within the scope of the agreement.

At the end of June 2008, there were 3,324 people receiving Netherlands pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 1,055 people receiving New Zealand benefits and pensions in the Netherlands. Of these, 1,049 people were receiving New Zealand Superannuation, one was receiving an Invalid's Benefit and five were receiving a Widow's Benefit.

The Republic of Ireland

Former New Zealand residents may qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension, Invalid’s Benefit, Orphan’s Benefit, Widow’s Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefit for widowers while they are living in Ireland. The rate of payment is based on whole months of residence in New Zealand since age 20.

People coming to live in New Zealand from the Republic of Ireland may use periods of contributions to the Irish social security scheme as periods of New Zealand residence to assist them to meet the residence criteria for New Zealand income services.

At the end of June 2008, there were 170 people receiving Irish pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 111 people receiving New Zealand Superannuation in the Republic of Ireland.

Greece (the Hellenic Republic)

Former New Zealand residents may qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension, Invalid’s Benefit, Widow’s Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefit for widowers while they are living in Greece. The rate of payment is based on whole years of New Zealand residence since age 20. Orphan’s Benefit and funeral grants may also be payable at the full New Zealand rate.

People arriving in New Zealand from Greece may use periods of residence and/or insurance in Greece to qualify for New Zealand benefits and pensions within the scope of the agreement. Periods of residence in New Zealand will also assist people who have made limited Greek insurance contributions to qualify for a Greek pension.

At the end of June 2008, there were 20 people receiving Greek pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 270 people receiving New Zealand benefits or pensions in Greece. Of these, 266 people were receiving New Zealand Superannuation and four were receiving Invalid's benefit.

Canada

Former New Zealand residents may qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension, Invalid’s Benefit, Widow’s Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefit for widowers while they are living in Canada. The rate of payment is based on whole months of New Zealand residence since age 20.

Anyone arriving in New Zealand from Canada may use periods of residence or contributions made in Canada to meet the residence criteria for New Zealand benefits and pensions within the scope of the agreement. Periods of residence in New Zealand will also assist people who have made limited contributions to the Canadian scheme, or who have insufficient periods of Canadian residence, to qualify for a Canadian pension.

At the end of June 2008, there were 795 people receiving Canadian pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 473 people receiving New Zealand benefits or pensions in Canada. Of these, 463 people were receiving New Zealand Superannuation and 10 were receiving Invalid's benefit.

Denmark

Former New Zealand residents may qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Invalid’s Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefit for widowers while they are living in Denmark. The rate of payment is based on whole months of New Zealand residence since age 20.

Anyone arriving in New Zealand from Denmark may use periods of residence or contributions made in Denmark to meet the residence criteria for New Zealand benefits and pensions within the scope of the agreement. Periods of residence in New Zealand will also assist people who have made limited contributions to the Danish scheme, or who have insufficient periods of Danish residence, to qualify for a Danish pension. To qualify for a Danish pension under the agreement, a person must be either a Danish or New Zealand citizen.

At the end of June 2008, there were 84 people receiving Danish pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 58 people receiving New Zealand benefits or pensions in Denmark. Of these, 56 people were receiving New Zealand Superannuation and 2 were receiving Invalid's benefit.

Jersey and Guernsey

Former New Zealand residents may qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pensions, Invalid’s Benefit or Domestic Purposes Benefits for widowers while they are living in Jersey or Guernsey. The rate of payment is based on whole years of New Zealand residence since age 20.

People coming to New Zealand who have made contributions to the Jersey or Guernsey social insurance schemes can use those periods of insurance to qualify for New Zealand benefits and pensions within the scope of the agreement, which includes the Sickness Benefit. Periods of residence in New Zealand will also assist people who have made limited contributions to the Jersey or Guernsey insurance schemes to qualify for pensions available under those schemes.

At the end of June 2008, there were 158 people receiving Jersey and Guernsey pensions in New Zealand. At the same date, there were 62 people receiving New Zealand Superannuation into Jersey and Guernsey.


Other provisions for payment of New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension overseas

General portability

Under the general portability provision, people eligible to receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension in their own right may receive 50% of their payment while they are living outside New Zealand, provided that they are not living in a country that has a social security agreement with New Zealand. Applications under this provision must be made while the applicant is resident in New Zealand.

The principal destinations are China, India and the United States.

At the end of June 2008, 226 people were receiving pension payments under the general portability provision into 53 countries.

Special portability arrangement for Pacific countries

People leaving New Zealand to reside in one of 22 Pacific countries can receive a rate of New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension that is based on their New Zealand residence since the age of 20 years. People residing in New Zealand for 10 years since the age of 20 years receive 50% of New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension. People residing in New Zealand for 10-20 years since the age of 20 years are entitled to an additional 5% of New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension for each year of residence over 10 years. At the date of application, they must be both resident and present in New Zealand and intending to live in one of the specified Pacific countries for 52 weeks or more.

Pacific countries covered by the arrangement are: American Samoa, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Island, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Fortuna.

At the end of June 2008, New Zealand was paying 539 people in 10 Pacific countries under the special portability arrangements.

The significantly larger uptake of special portability as opposed to general portability reflects the more generous payment provisions of the former, the proximity of Pacific countries, and the close family links that are often maintained even after a person's immigration to New Zealand from a Pacific country.


Trends in total payments to New Zealanders living overseas

New Zealanders living overseas may be eligible to receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension under the special and general portability provisions of the Payment Overseas programme and under social security agreements.

At the end of June 2008, 16,716 New Zealanders living overseas were receiving payments of pensions or main benefits from New Zealand. Of these people, 13,825 were receiving New Zealand Superannuation, while 38 were receiving Veteran's Pensions, 2,848 were receiving Invalid's Benefits and five were receiving Widow's Benefits.

The increase in the number of New Zealand Superannuation payments overseas since 2003 is mostly attributable to the number of superannuitants who have moved from New Zealand to Australia.


Foreign pensions paid into New Zealand

Please note that some people receive a reduced rate of New Zealand benefit because they are also receiving overseas pensions paid into New Zealand under social security agreements or from non-agreement countries.


Trends in the number of Work and Income clients receiving overseas pensions

The number of Work and Income clients who were also receiving overseas pensions has fluctuated over the last two years after increasing between 2003 and 2006 (see table 7.10). Since 2003, the proportion of these clients who were receiving a United Kingdom pension has decreased from 89% to 78%. Clients receiving Australian and Netherlands pensions accounted for most of the corresponding increase.

Table 7.10 Trends in the number of Work and Income clients receiving an overseas pension, by country the pension is received from

  Number of Work and Income clients receiving an overseas pension1
  2004 Number 2005 Number 2006 Number 2007 Number 2008 Number
Albania 0 0 0 0 1
Argentina 0 1 1 2 3
Australia 914 2,549 3,960 3,928 4,918
Austria 0 4 6 10 18
Barbados 3 3 3 3 4
Belgium 4 4 8 8 9
Bulgaria 3 4 10 13 23
Canada 306 387 554 647 795
Chile 1 0 0 3 5
China, People's Republic of2 166 153 131 337 427
Cook Islands 0 0 2 2 4
Croatia 0 1 4 6 6
Czechoslovakia, former state of 2 2 4 5 9
Denmark 62 71 80 80 84
Egypt 1 0 0 1 2
Fiji 45 56 40 90 111
Finland 0 2 1 3 5
France 5 8 14 16 18
French Polynesia 0 2 1 1 1
Germany 87 108 153 171 200
Greece 19 19 12 15 20
Guernsey 49 51 69 78 79
Hong Kong 0 0 1 6 6
Hungary 1 1 3 5 6
India 24 20 26 43 54
Ireland 91 131 168 159 170
Isle of Man 24 26 37 37 40
Israel 1 1 1 1 2
Italy 2 3 4 6 12
Jamaica 0 0 0 0 1
Japan 4 5 14 18 26
Jersey 50 63 80 78 79
Korea, Republic of 0 0 2 5 5
Macedonia 0 0 0 0 4
Malaysia 2 3 13 20 24
Malta 1 1 0 0 0
Marshall Islands 0 1 0 1 1
Netherlands 2,400 2,709 3,027 3,146 3,324
New Caledonia 0 0 1 1 1
Norway 3 3 6 4 10
Peru 0 0 1 1 1
Philippines 20 22 45 53 62
Poland 1 2 4 6 7
Portugal 0 1 1 2 4
Romania 0 0 0 3 8
Samoa, American 0 0 3 3 6
Samoa, Western 0 0 4 5 42
Singapore 2 2 1 1 5
South Africa, Republic of 26 36 14 62 71
Spain 0 0 0 0 1
Sri Lanka 57 53 22 34 51
Sweden 3 2 7 9 20
Switzerland 82 110 138 150 173
Tahiti 1 1 1 1 1
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, former 13 22 29 31 44
United Kingdom 37,754 40,193 42,521 40,417 41,359
United States of America 98 150 223 274 376
Yugoslavia, former state of 7 9 12 15 18
Zimbabwe 2 2 2 0 0
Total 42,336 46,996 51,464 50,019 52,756

Notes

  1. Numbers of Work and Income clients recorded as receiving an overseas pension as well as a pension or benefit at the end of June. This table excludes people who are not receiving financial assistance from Work and Income.
  2. Chinese pensions are not deductible under S.70 of the Social Security Act 1964, but are included in the overall totals shown in table 7.10

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