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Questions and answers on overseas pensions

Why does my overseas pension affect the payment of my New Zealand benefit or pension?

Section 70 of the Social Security Act 1964 requires the rate of any New Zealand benefit or pension to be reduced by the amount of any overseas benefit or pension that:

  • are administered by or on behalf of an overseas government; and
  • form part of a programme providing benefits, pensions and periodical allowances for the same circumstances for which New Zealand benefits and pensions would be paid (for example old age/retirement, invalidity and survivors pensions)

Section 70 of the Social Security Act 1964 ensures that the amount of the overseas pension and the New Zealand benefit or pension will generally be around the same as if you did not receive an overseas pension.

Are there any instances where the overseas benefit or pension does not affect the rate of New Zealand benefit or pension?

There is no provision in New Zealand legislation that allows the amount of an overseas benefit or pension to be disregarded when determining the amount of New Zealand benefit or pension to be paid.

However if you travel or move to a country other than New Zealand for more than 26 weeks, you may be entitled to a proportional amount of New Zealand benefit or pension based on the amount of time that you have lived in New Zealand. When paid this rate of New Zealand benefit or pension you can generally keep your overseas benefit or pension. 

There are some exceptions. For more information about moving or travelling to a third country contact:

What options are available for payment of my overseas benefit or pension in New Zealand?

Generally your overseas benefit or pension is paid direct into your own bank account. 

However if you receive a benefit or pension from The Netherlands, Jersey and Guernsey, United Kingdom or Ireland you can choose to have your overseas benefit or pension paid by the Direct Payment Method or the Special Banking Option.

For more information, see page:

Am I entitled to other payments in addition to a New Zealand benefit or pension?

You may also be eligible for extra help such as a Disability Allowance for medical costs and an Accommodation Supplement for accommodation expenses. Contact Senior Services or Work and Income to check whether you are entitled to extra help.

Check what you may be entitled to get on the Work and Income website.

Does my overseas benefit or pension affect my spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension?

This depends on the amount of overseas benefit or pension you receive.  If the amount of overseas benefit or pension you receive is less than your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement, the amount of your spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension is not affected.  If the amount of overseas benefit or pension you receive is greater than your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement, the amount of overseas benefit or pension that exceeds the amount of your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement will be deducted from your spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension.

Does my spouse or partner's overseas benefit or pension affect my New Zealand benefit or pension?

If you receive a New Zealand benefit or pension and your spouse or partner does not, any overseas benefit or pension that your spouse or partner receives will be deducted from your New Zealand benefit or pension.

To read an example click here

For more information on the Social Security Act 1964, section 70 click here

For more information or clarification in your own case contact Senior Services International Services team.

What tax do I need to pay on my overseas pension?

We pay tax on your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's pension but generally you need to pay tax on your overseas pension.

If your overseas pension is paid via the Special Banking Option your tax is paid for you.

If you are paid a New Zealand benefit other than New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension you may not have to pay tax on your overseas benefit or pension in New Zealand. This is because your gross overseas pension is directly deducted from your net New Zealand entitlement.

We recommend you discuss your tax liabilities with Inland Revenue (New Zealand).

What about bank fees on the transfer of an overseas pension?

Both the overseas and New Zealand banks may charge fees during the process of transferring your overseas pension amount to New Zealand. The amount of the overseas pension which we deduct is generally the amount after these bank fees have been paid.

As an example, if your overseas pension is $100 per week and you are charged a bank fee of $5.00, we will only deduct $95.00 from your New Zealand benefit or pension payments.

However there are some exceptions and you need to discuss this with Senior Services:

How is the exchange rate on my overseas benefit or pension calculated?

The exchange rate used to convert the amount of your overseas benefit or pension to New Zealand dollars is usually an average rate of the exchange rates from the 16th day of the previous month to the 15th day of the current month. This average exchange rate will generally apply for two New Zealand Superannuation paydays in a 4 weekly period. This same exchange rate applies to all New Zealand benefits and pensions.

Some overseas countries (Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands) are able to provide us with the exchange rate/s that were used to convert the amount of overseas pension to New Zealand dollars. We use these exchange rates where they are available.

For more information contact Senior Services:

Why can't I receive an overseas benefit or pension and the full New Zealand benefit or pension ?

Section 70 of the Social Security Act 1964 ensures that the amount of the overseas pension and the New Zealand benefit or pension will generally be around the same as if you did not receive an overseas pension.

For example, it takes 10 years before a person becomes entitled to New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's pension. So if you were to receive a partial overseas benefit or pension as well as the full amount of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension, you would receive more state retirement pension than those superannuitants who have lived all their lives in New Zealand and who have contributed to the funding of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension for a longer period of time through paying their taxes. 

Does the way my overseas benefit or pension is treated change if I leave New Zealand?

If you have an overseas benefit or pension deducted from your New Zealand payment and you leave New Zealand temporarily, your overseas benefit or pension will continue to be deducted.  If the rate of overseas pension you are paid changes while you are away, please let us know.

New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension

If you leave New Zealand for more than 26 weeks, whether your overseas pension continues to be deducted depends on where you are going.  If you are travelling through one or more countries, your overseas pension may not be deducted.  If you move to one of the social security agreement countries, how your overseas pension is treated will depend on which country you move to.  In some cases it may continue to be deducted, in others, it may be disregarded.  If you are moving to a country covered by the Special Portability Arrangement with Specified Pacific Countries, your overseas pension will continue to be deducted.

If you are leaving New Zealand for longer than 26 weeks and you're overseas pension is paid via the Special Banking Option you will need to make arrangements with the overseas agency that pays your pension to make payments direct to you.  This is because we cannot continue to receive payments into your special bank account while you are not in New Zealand so that account will be closed.

If you are going to Australia to live permanently special conditions apply and you need to contact the International Services team.

For more information, please contact Senior Services:

How do I apply for an overseas benefit or pension?

If you have previously lived in a country other than New Zealand and you are not already getting an overseas benefit or pension, you need to contact Senior Services International Services team. They will help you to apply for an overseas benefit or pension.

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