New Zealanders who are 65 or older and live in Australia may be eligible for both an Australian age pension and NZ superannuation, depending on the amount of their working life they spent in each country.
Under Australia’s international social security agreement with New Zealand, New Zealand citizens living in Australia can apply for the Australian Age Pension (if over the age of 65), Disability Support Pension (DSP) (if they are severely disabled) and Carer Payment (if they are caring for a partner on DSP), irrespective of whether they are protected or non-protected SCV holders.
Australian age pensions are asset and income tested, so any assets or income a New Zealander has will affect the amount payable. In addition, the rate of New Zealand Superannuation payable in Australia cannot exceed the amount of Australian Age Pension that would be payable if the New Zealander was entitled to receive an Australian Age Pension but was not entitled to receive New Zealand Superannuation. Read more about income test for pensions here and asset tests here.
This means that where a New Zealander cannot receive the Australian Age Pension because their income and assets exceed the limits, that person cannot receive New Zealand Superannuation in Australia.
To qualify for a pension, a New Zealander must have been resident in either Australia or New Zealand for at least 10 years of their working life (between the ages of 20 and 65).
You can continue to get your New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) or Veteran’s Pension payments for up to 26 weeks (inclusive) after you leave New Zealand.
There are different rates of Age Pension payments for single people and couples. Read about how your relationship status can affect your payment rate.
Under Australia’s international social security agreement with New Zealand, New Zealand citizens living in Australia can apply for the Australian Age Pension (if over the age of 65), Disability Support Pension (DSP) (if they are severely disabled) and Carer Payment (if they are caring for a partner on DSP), irrespective of whether they are protected or non-protected SCV holders. The residency requirements for the Age Pension require a total period of time lived in Australia and/or periods of Working Age Residence (Working Age Residency refers to residency between the ages of 20 and 65) in New Zealand of more than ten years. For DSP, the person must have had at least ten years of residence in Australia or New Zealand, become severely disabled while living in Australia or New Zealand and resided in Australia for at least one year. For Carer Payment, an individual must have lived in Australia and/or New Zealand for more than two years.
Reciprocal arrangements apply in relation to certain New Zealand payments (discussed below).
Source of the above is from the New Zealanders in Australia: a quick guide on the Parliament of Australia website: https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1617/Quick_Guides/NZAust.
The Australian Government Department of Human Services use income and assets tests to work out how much Age Pension you get.
|Per fortnight||Single||Couple each||Couple combined||Couple apart due to ill health|
|Maximum basic rate||$843.60||$635.90||$1,271.80||$843.60|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$68.50||$51.60||$103.20||$68.50|
If you’re a member of a couple, it can affect what payments you can get and your payment rate. You can read about it here.
New Zealand and Australia have a social security agreement. The Agreement covers the following benefits and pensions:
The agreement means that New Zealand residents who have lived, live or are going to live in Australia may qualify for a benefit or pension from both Australia and New Zealand.
If you are paid or apply for a benefit or pension in NZ then you must apply for the equivalent in Australia.
New Zealand Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) and Australian Disability Support Pension (for the severely disabled)
In order to qualify for the Australian Disability Support Pension under the Agreement you must meet the below criteria for either the New Zealand Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or Australian Disability Support Pension and you must also be assessed as “severely disabled”.
“Severely disabled” means:
If you intent to or do live in Australia you may qualify for a benefit or pension from both Australia and New Zealand.
As stated above, you must apply for a benefit or pension in both countries.
Once you applications are processed you may be paid payments from both New Zealand and Australia, e.g. your payment is made up of a NZ Superannuation payment and an Australian Age Pension payment. When this happens the total amount you will receive will be similar to the amount you would have received if you spent all your life in Australia.
Senior Services International uses certain criteria to decide who can receive a NZ pension or benefit in Australia and how much you will be paid.
You can read more about this here: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/pensions/travelling-or-moving/social-security-agreements/australia.html#null.
If you already receive either the NZ superannuation or Veteran’s pension, are over 65 before you leave NZ and meet the age criteria for the Australian Age Pension, you can continue to receive your NZ payments for up to 26 weeks after leaving NZ. If you don’t meet the Australian Age Pension criteria your payments will stop the day after you leave NZ.
You should check what you will be paid in Australia before you leave NZ as it may be less than what you are currently been paid especially if:
Whether you are paid in Australia will depend on the outcome of your application for the Australian Age Pension, which includes an income and asset test.
To see if your NZ payments will continue for more than 26 weeks after leaving NZ you must apply for the NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension to be paid to you in Australia.
To do this you need to apply for an Australian Age Pension through your local Centrelink office with 26 weeks of leaving NZ.
If Centrelink grant you an Australian Age Pension, they will send you a NZ application form to complete so Senior Services International can work out whether you will continue to be paid and how much you will receive.
If Centrelink can’t grant you an Australian Age Pension because you don’t meet the residency requirements, please contact Work and Income in NZ.
You need to apply for a benefit or pension within four weeks of leaving NZ. You need to get application forms from your local Centerlink office or call Centerlink International Services.
Read the below page in full if any of the below apply to you:
Work and Income page Social security agreement with Australia: