New Zealanders who are 65 or older and live in Australia should be eligible for an Australian age pension. As long as they meet the resident, income and asset eligibility criteria.
Under Australia’s international social security agreement with New Zealand, NZ 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. Read more about income and asset tests for pensions below.
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.
Information in this post:
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||$882.20||$665||$1,330||$882.20|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$71.20||$53.70||$107.40||$71.20|
* Rates as per 1 March 2022. Check here for updated rates: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/how-much-age-pension-you-can-get?context=22526.
Your income can reduce how much you will get paid. The age pension income test will assess your income from all sources. If you’re over the limit, you get a lower pension.
These are the income rules for most pensioners.
|Income per fortnight||Amount your pension will reduce by|
|Up to $180||$0|
|Over $180||50 cents for each dollar over $180|
Couple living together or apart due to ill health
|Combined income per fortnight||Amount your combined pension will reduce by|
|Up to $320||$0|
|Over $320||50 cents for each dollar over $320|
Income from outside Australia that may count in the income test includes money from all of the following:
Read more here:
For the maximum rate of pension to be payable, you may have assets up to the assets value limit (the asset limit before pension reduces), provided your income does not exceed the income free area (the income limit before pension reduces).
The assets value limits for service pension, age pension and veteran payment are:
|Relationship and residential status||Low limit (home owners)||High limit (non-home owners)|
|Couples* – combined||$405,000||$621,500|
* Includes illness separated and respite care couples.
This means you can have assets up to and including these amounts and still get the maximum rate of pension, provided your income does not exceed the income free area.
When the market value of your assets exceeds the assets value limit, your pension is reduced by 75 cents per fortnight for every whole amount of $250 worth of assets above the limit. The pension continues to reduce at the rate of 75 cents for every $250 worth of assets over the limit until the value of your assets reaches or exceeds the assets cut-off limits. No pension is payable if you have assets above the cut-off limits.
For a couple the value of the assets is split between each member of the couple and the rate of reduction is the same for each member of the couple.
Your home is not counted as an asset when calculating pension or payment, but it does affect how your pension or payment is assessed under the assets test.
For more information on how the assets test works and some good examples of calculations, refer to Assets Test: https://www.dva.gov.au/financial-support/income-support/what-changes-your-payments/your-income-and-assets/assets-test.
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.
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:
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 within 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.
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.
If you move permanently to Australia, you can transfer your KiwiSaver funds to an Australian superannuation scheme. You do not have to transfer your KiwiSaver account to Australia though.
Contact your KiwiSaver provider if you decide to transfer your KiwiSaver funds to an Australia super.
To transfer your KiwiSaver you will need to:
How to compare and choose super funds. When you’re comparing super funds, weigh up fund performance and the fees you’ll pay against other factors such as risk, investment returns, services and insurance, e.g. performance, low fees, insurance, investment options and services.
You can find out about and compare super funds by using the ATO’s YourSuper comparison tool, an online list comparing MySuper products.
Here is a good post on choosing a super fund, which goes into the above in more detail.
I’ve recently found this Australia government website My Aged Care. If you need some help around the house or think it’s time to look into aged care homes, My Aged Care is here to help.
The website has a lot of helpful information:
I found this website when I was looking for advice for the below comment:
My parents are kiwis and have a house in NZ and Australia but they want to live in Australia full time now they are 80 years old!
They need advice on how to organise their finances in NZ to make sensible choices re private and government pensions, investments, house sale etc
Is their a person or a company you can suggest that they can use yo give them this advice please?
My Aged Care has great online help for financial support and advice, including:
Organisations that can help
There are a number of organisations that offer free services that can inform you about things like how to build savings, how to prepare for retirement, and what options you have with your pension.
Professional services that can help
The MoneySmart website has some valuable resources to help you manage your money, and it can also direct you to professional services like financial advisers, counsellors, and legal advice.
Tools and information
There are many tools available to help you with different aspects of your finances, such as:
So if you need financial advice firstly check out their website and then get in contact with them. They will definitely be able to point you in the right direction.
Here is a video which explains simply about their service.
Read the below page in full if any of the below apply to you:
Work and Income page Social security agreement with Australia: