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Clients living overseas

Temporarily returning to New Zealand

If you receiving a New Zealand benefit or pension while living overseas and are visiting New Zealand temporarily or on holiday, you can continue to receive the same payments as you get overseas.

Should your intentions change and you intend to reside permanently in New Zealand you need to talk to Senior Services.

Moving from an overseas country to a country other than New Zealand

If you are living overseas in an agreement country, receiving a New Zealand benefit or pension and intend to move to a non-agreement country except New Zealand you will not be able to get any more payments.

If you are living overseas in a non-agreement country, receiving New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's pension and intend to move to an agreement country you will need to reapply for New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's pension from that country. However if you move to another non-agreement country your payments may continue.

If you are planning on moving to another country you should talk to us first

For more information on moving between countries please contact Senior Services.

Moving to New Zealand Permanently

If you're not from a country which we have a social security agreement with and are not currently receiving any payments from us, you usually have to meet our standard rules for getting assistance.

The main form of state pension entitlement is New Zealand Superannuation, which is funded from a ‘pay as you go' basis from general taxation and not individual contributions. It is generally paid at a flat rate and is not adjusted for income, assets or employment status, except if you wish to include a spouse or partner who is not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation. Eligibility is from age 65 and is available to all who have resided in New Zealand for 10 years, including five years since the age of 50 years.

New Zealand has social security agreements with:

  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Jersey and Guernsey
  • Malta 
  • The Netherlands

If you're from a country that has one of these agreements with New Zealand you may be able to get benefits or pensions either from New Zealand, from that country, or from both. The rules are different for each agreement country.

People aged 65 and over who do not meet the New Zealand residency test for New Zealand Superannuation may qualify for an income-tested benefit instead.

Financial support in New Zealand that you and your family may be able to receive

In addition to New Zealand Superannuation, extra financial assistance for accommodation costs and disability is also available on the basis of need. The most common forms of assistance are disability allowance and the accommodation supplement.

We offer special services to migrants and refugees that can help them settle in New Zealand and find work. If you're involved in an international custody or access dispute, and are struggling financially, we may also be able to help.

If you're struggling to support yourself or your family, talk to us as we can often help you get some form of assistance.

Getting an overseas benefit or pension while living in New Zealand

New Zealand has social security agreements with some countries, as listed above that may make it easier for you to get certain benefits or pensions from New Zealand or from those countries.

If you can get a state social security benefit, pension or periodic allowance from another country you are obliged to claim it and you must tell us.

Those who receive a pension from overseas have their overseas pension deducted from the amount of New Zealand benefit or pension received. This ensures that the combined amount you receive from your New Zealand benefit or pension and any overseas benefit or pension is equivalent to the amount you would receive if you only received a New Zealand benefit or pension.

Getting an overseas benefit or pension while living outside New Zealand

If you are being paid a New Zealand benefit or pension in a country other than New Zealand you  may be able to also receive an overseas benefit or pension from that country. Your payments may be affected and you need to talk to us. 

For more information

Our Senior Services team specialise in paying New Zealand benefits and pensions overseas. They are the best people to contact for questions about getting your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension while travelling or residing overseas.

To find out more contact Senior Services.

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