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Veteran's Pension

If you've served in NZ's Armed Forces during a war or a recognised emergency, you can apply for a Veteran’s Pension. In some cases your spouse or partner may also qualify for one.

Who can get it

You can apply for a Veteran’s Pension if you:

  • are 65 or older
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • normally live in New Zealand, and have spent at least:
    • 10 years in NZ since you turned 20, and
    • 5 years in NZ since you turned 50.
  • served in the NZ Armed Forces, and
  • have qualifying operational service.

List of Qualifying Operational Service

You can get a Veteran’s Pension or NZ Superannuation (NZ Super), not both.

If your spouse or partner served with the NZ Armed Forces

You can apply for a Veteran’s Pension if you’re eligible for NZ Super and:
your partner is eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, and
they get:

  • a War Disablement Pension — at least 70% or more of the full pension
  • a Disablement Pension
  • an Independence Allowance, or
  • a Lump Sum for Permanent Impairment.

Your partner must have been assessed with a whole-body impairment of 52% or more for you to be eligible.

‘Whole-person impairment’ is a way to describe the permanent impact of injuries or illness on someone’s ability to function day-to-day. It is expressed as a percentage.

If your spouse or partner has died

You can also apply for a Veteran’s Pension if your spouse or partner has died.

You need to be eligible for NZ Super and your partner needs to have been eligible for a Veteran’s Pension if they had lived.

They also need to have been getting, or Veterans’ Affairs needs to agree that they would have got, at least one of the following:

  • a War Disablement Pension — at least 70% or more of the full pension
  • a Disablement Pension
  • an Independence Allowance, or
  • a Lump Sum for Permanent Impairment.

Your partner must have been assessed with a whole-body impairment of 52% or more for you to be eligible.

Pensions and Lump Sums for veterans

If you cannot apply for the Veteran’s Pension

If you cannot apply for the Veteran’s Pension — because you’re not 65 yet, or you have not lived in NZ for long enough — but your partner is eligible, they can choose to include you in their Veteran’s Pension.

Your partner and NZ Superannuation

How to apply

You can apply for a Veteran’s Pension 8 weeks before you turn 65. Download the form from Work and Income.

Veteran’s Pension application form (PDF 224KB)

You need to include certified copies of:

  • 1 form of government-issued ID, such as your driver licence or passport if you were born in NZ, or
  • proof that you are allowed to live in NZ if you were born overseas — such as your citizenship certificate, and
  • 2 other documents supporting your identity, such as your marriage certificate, power or phone bill — at least one of these documents must be more than 2 years old
  • proof of any name change
  • a form or letter from Inland Revenue showing your IRD number
  • proof of bank account details, such as a bank statement.

If you have a partner you need to provide their ID as well.

A certified copy is a copy of the original document that has been copied, stamped and initialled by a Justice of the Peace (JP), a solicitor or a Court Registrar. The staff at your local Work and Income office can also certify copies for you.

You also need to provide:

  • your service number
  • the dates you served
  • when and where you served overseas.

You’ll need to let Work and Income know what tax code you want to use for your Veteran’s Pension.

Choose the right tax code

Once you’ve completed the form

Post it to:

Veteran’s Pension Centre
PO Box 5515
Wellington 6145
New Zealand

Dates

The date you apply for your Veteran’s Pension is important. You get paid from that date or on the date you become eligible for the pension, whichever is later. If you apply after you turn 65, you won’t be back-paid.

You have 20 working days after you first apply to give Work and Income any other documents needed to complete your application. Otherwise you may need to apply again. Contact them if you need more time.

Freephone: 0800 650 656 (NZ only)

Freefax: 0800 999 996 (NZ only)

Email: veteranspension@msd.govt.nz

If you’re deaf, hearing-impaired or find it hard to communicate by phone you can contact them on:

Deaf-link freefax: 0800 621 621 (NZ only)

TTY: 0800 111 113

Email: MSD_Deaf_Services@msd.govt.nz

What you get

The Veteran’s Pension is paid fortnightly at the same rate as NZ Super.

Veteran’s Pension current payment rates

The amount you receive depends on:

  • whether you are single, married or in a relationship
  • your living situation if you’re single
  • whether your partner is included in your Veteran’s Pension payments or not
  • any overseas benefit or pension you get.

If you decide to include your partner in your payments, any income either of you earn can affect how much you receive.

NZ Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension and overseas pensions

Tax and the Veteran’s Pension

You pay tax on the Veteran’s Pension. The amount you’re taxed depends on whether you get any other income.

Income you pay tax on

Extra benefits

You get extra benefits if you get a Veteran’s Pension rather than NZ Super.

  • You automatically get a Community Services Card.
  • Your pension is not reduced if you need long-term hospital care.
  • After your death, your partner and family may be able to get other financial help, such as the Surviving Spouse or Partner Pension.

Community Services Card

Surviving Spouse or Partner pension

When you die

Your spouse or partner will get a lump sum when you die if you had been assessed with a whole-person impairment of 52% or more and you got:

  • a Disablement Pension
  • an Independence Allowance, or
  • a Lump Sum for Permanent Impairment.

If your partner has already died, the lump sum will be divided equally between your children.

There may also be other assistance your family can get from Veterans’ Affairs.

Lump sum payment rates

Veterans’ Affairs support for veterans and their families

If you're the partner of a veteran

If you’re receiving the Veteran’s Pension as the partner of a veteran rather than as a veteran yourself, some things are different.

If your partner dies

You’ll receive a lump sum when your partner dies if they had been assessed with a whole-person impairment of 52% or more and also got a:

  • Disablement Pension
  • Independence Allowance
  • Lump Sum for Permanent Impairment.

There may also be other assistance you can get from Veterans’ Affairs.

Veterans’ Affairs support for veterans and their families 

If you remarry or start a new relationship

If you receive a Veteran’s Pension as the partner of a veteran who died, your pension will stop if you:

  • remarry
  • enter into a civil union; or
  • start a new de facto relationship.

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