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If you lived or worked overseas

If you lived or worked in another country you may be able to get their social security pension. When you apply for NZ Superannuation or the Veteran's Pension, apply for these pensions at the same time.

If you’re able to get a pension from another country, it could make a difference to the amount of NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension you get. It depends on whether Work and Income has decided that the pension counts as an ‘overseas pension’ under the Social Security Act 1964.

You must apply for any overseas benefit or pension that you might be able to get when you apply for NZ Super or the Veteran’s Pension.

If you’re able to get an overseas pension, your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension will be reduced on a dollar for dollar basis. The amount you get in total will be the same as someone stayed in NZ for their whole working life.

If the amount you receive from your overseas pension is more than your NZ Super entitlement, you’ll only receive your overseas pension.

It will also affect your partner’s payments if they’re getting NZ Super or the Veteran’s Pension.

What counts as an overseas pension

For a pension or benefit from another country to affect your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension it must:

  • be part of a programme that provides pensions, benefits or allowances
  • cover at least one of the circumstances that NZ pensions and benefits cover, such as old age or disability
  • be administered by, or on behalf of, another country’s government.

Why does an overseas pension affect my NZ Super?

Some overseas pensions that affect the amount of NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension you get include:

  • Australia’s Age Pension
  • Canada’s:
    • Old Age Security
    • Canada Pension Plan, and
    • Quebec Pension Plan
  • Netherlands’ Algemene Ouderdomswet (AOW)
  • United States’ Social Security pension scheme
  • United Kingdom’s State Pension.

Contact International Services at Work and Income to check if your overseas pension will affect your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension.

Freephone: 0800 777 227 (from NZ only)

Freephone: 1800 150 479 (from Australia)

Phone: +64 4 978 1180

Email: international.services@msd.govt.nz

Australian pensions in New Zealand

Canadian pensions in New Zealand

Netherlands’ pensions in New Zealand

United Kingdom pensions in New Zealand

Applying for your overseas pension

When you apply for your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension you must let Work and Income know if you’ve ever worked overseas. Their Senior Services International team will:

  • work out what you could apply for
  • supply the overseas application forms you need, and
  • ensure they’re completed.

If you’re already receiving an overseas pension you must let Work and Income know.

Contact International Services at Work and Income if you have any questions.

Freephone: 0800 777 227 (from NZ only)

Freephone: 1800 150 479 (from Australia)

Phone: +64 4 978 1180

Email: international.services@msd.govt.nz

Deductions

Work and Income convert the amount you receive to NZ dollars and then take that off your NZ Super payment. This is done using the gross (before tax) rate.

Other benefits

If you’re also getting extra assistance from Work and Income — such as the Accommodation Supplement — and your overseas pension is more than your NZ Super entitlement, the remainder of your overseas pension is taken off your other benefits.

Payments

Generally your overseas pension is paid directly into your bank account. This means that:

  • your payments vary as the exchange rates go up and down
  • you’ll get at least 2 separate payments — 1 from your overseas pension provider and 1 from Work and Income
  • you’re responsible for paying tax in New Zealand on your overseas pension.

Guide to overseas pensions and annuity schemes IR257

Special Banking Option

You can choose to use a Special Banking Option if you get an overseas pension from:

  • Australia
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • the Netherlands
  • Republic of Ireland, or
  • the United Kingdom.

This means:

  • your overseas pension is paid into a Work and Income bank account
  • you receive 1 payment from Work and Income that is the total amount you’re entitled to
  • you’ll receive the same amount every 2 weeks — changes in the exchange rate will not affect your payments
  • tax on your overseas pension is already deducted.

Check with Senior Services International if you get a pension from any of these 6 countries as there are some circumstances where you cannot choose the Special Banking option.

Freephone: 0800 777 227 (from NZ only)

Phone: +64 4 978 1180

Email: international.services@msd.govt.nz

If you’re going to be away from NZ for more than 26 weeks, you may need to have your overseas pension paid into a different account. Check with Work and Income before you leave NZ.

The Special Banking Option 

If you have a partner

There are a number of ways an overseas pension can affect you or your partner’s NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension.

If your partner receives both NZ Super and an overseas pension, but you only receive NZ Super

If the amount your partner gets from their overseas pension is more than their NZ Super entitlement, the excess is taken away from your NZ Super payments.

If your partner only has an overseas pension and you get NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension

The amount they receive from their overseas pension is deducted in full from your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension payments.

If you receive NZ Super and an overseas pension and your partner is included as a ‘non-qualified partner’

If you’ve included your partner in your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension as a ‘non-qualified partner’ — that is, they’re not able to get NZ Super in their own right because of their age or length of time in NZ — then the amount of your overseas pension is deducted equally from you and your partner’s NZ Super payments.

If your partner is included as a ‘non-qualified partner’, your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension is income tested. This means that payments from a private pension scheme may also be counted as income and could affect the amount of NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension you both get.

Your partner and NZ Superannuation

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