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Are New Zealanders able to get the pension in Australia? Yes! But there is more to it. Here is all the information you need to know…

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.

Pensions and Carer Payment

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.

Payment Rates

The Australian Government Department of Human Services use income and assets tests to work out how much Age Pension you get.

Below are the maximum rates:

Per fortnightSingleCouple eachCouple combinedCouple 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
Energy Supplement$14.10$10.60$21.20$14.10
Total$926.20$698.10$1,396.20$926.20

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.

The New Zealand Social Security Agreement with Australia

New Zealand and Australia have a social security agreement. The Agreement covers the following benefits and pensions:

New Zealand benefits and pensions:

  • Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)
  • New Zealand Superannuation
  • Veteran’s Pension

Australia benefits and pensions:

  • Disability Support Pension (for the severely disabled)
  • Carer Payment for the partner of a person who is in receipt of Disability Support Pension
  • Australian Age Pension

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:

  • you must have a physical, psychiatric or intellectual impairment that makes you totally unable to work or benefit from any assistance or rehabilitation programme for the next two years or
  • you must be permanently blind and
  • the severe disablement must have occurred while you were a resident in either Australia or New Zealand.

Getting a benefit or pension in Australia

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.

Getting a New Zealand benefit or pension 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.

Do you already receive a New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension?

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:

  • you receive any supplementary benefits and allowances (such as the Accommodation Supplement or Disability Allowance) in New Zealand as these can’t be paid after you leave New Zealand, or
  • you have a partner under 65 who is already included in your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension payments, or
  • you have income and/or assets that may affect your entitlement to an Australian Age Pension, or
  • you have lived in a country other than New Zealand or Australia.

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.

What do you need to do within 26 weeks?

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.

How do you apply for an Australian Pension or benefit?

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.

What you need when you apply for an Australian benefit or pension in Australia:

  • proof of your identity, e.g. passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or driver licence
  • your bank account details so that payments can be made to you (bank book, bank statement or deposit slip)
  • proof of any income and assets you have.

Things to do before leaving New Zealand for Australia

  • Advise Work and Income about your plans.
  • Make sure you have all document ready: proof of your identity (eg passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate or driver licence), your bank account details, and any doctors’ or specialists’ reports, if you receive the New Zealand Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind).
  • If you receive an overseas pension that is paid using the Special Banking Option in New Zealand, you need to contact that overseas agency and request that they pay directly to your personal bank account. For help with this please contact Senior Services International

Things to do after arriving in Australia

  • If you are paid the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or a Veteran’s Pension and are under 65, you must apply for the Disability Support Pension within four weeks of leaving New Zealand. Your partner may be able to apply for an Australian Carer Payment. To make an application, talk to your local Centrelink office or call Centrelink International Services.
  • If you are paid New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension and you are over 65, you must apply for an Australian Age Pension within 26 weeks of leaving New Zealand. To make an application, talk to your local Centrelink office or call Centrelink International Services.

Still got questions about the Australia Age Pension?

Read the below page in full if any of the below apply to you:

  • What happens if I don’t apply within 26 weeks?
  • What if I am over 65 but my partner is under 65?
  • What happens if I don’t qualify for an Australian Age Pension?
  • Can I receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)?
  • What happens if I have a partner?
  • What if I already receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)?
  • What do I have to do to continue to receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)?
  • What happens when I apply for a Disability Support Pension?
  • What happens if I don’t qualify for a Disability Support Pension?
  • What if I spent time in a country other than New Zealand and Australia?

Work and Income page Social security agreement with Australia:
https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/pensions/travelling-or-moving/social-security-agreements/australia.html#null.

35 Comments

  1. Sarah

    October 15, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Hi my Dad aged 74 is looking at moving to Australia. He has a fair amount of money etc. I see from research that to receive a Pension in Australia you under go means and asset testing. Is there anyway my Dad can still receive his NZ payments and live in Australia full time?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 19, 2021 at 3:14 am

      Hi Sarah,
      You are going to have to call the IRD and ask them if he can still receive his NZ pension.
      If he doesn’t pass the Australian pension asset and income tests, then the only way I can see him able to continue to receive his NZ pension is returning to NZ twice a year so he is not out of the country for more than 26 weeks. This would be tricky if he has health issues and of course we are all subject to the current Covid restrictions.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  2. Sherryl

    July 26, 2021 at 4:19 am

    Hi JJ
    My name is Sherryl and i live in NZ. I am on th nz retirement benefit and have my 15 year old neice that lives with I am receving an Orphans benefit for her. I am going to come to aussie to be with my family and wanted to know if you have any info on this. Whether i can still get this in Au. Her mum is also Australian
    Thanks

    Reply
  3. John Fletcher

    May 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Hello I am a 70yr old kiwi born Oz citizen. I moved to OZ in 1979. I am currently an Age Pension recipient in OZ but wish to return to NZ permanently as I have family there. Thank you

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 13, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment.
      New Zealand Superannuation is the age pension. Australian citizens or former residents (including New Zealanders returning after living in Australia) may be eligible for the age pension if they meet eligibility criteria.
      Generally, eligibility is based upon residency in New Zealand for not less than ten years since the age of 20, including five years or more since the age of 50.
      Under the social security agreement between Australia and New Zealand, periods of residence in Australia may be recognised for the purposes of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation.
      New Zealand Superannuation is not income or assets tested, but receipt of an Australian pension may affect payment rates.
      Here is the link to Work and Income who you will need to apply through. However, you cannot apply until you are in NZ.: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/map/income-support/main-benefits/new-zealand-superannuation/introduction.html.
      Here is the eligibility requirements that apply to you:
      – be deemed to hold a residence class visa in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 2009 (eg Australian citizens or residents) and
      – be ordinarily resident in New Zealand on the date of application (except where the client is applying from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau under Special Portability).
      Further questions? Get help from the Work and Income NZ Superannuation team by calling anytime Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm on 1800 150 479 (from Australia).
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
    • pam

      May 17, 2021 at 1:19 am

      Hi
      I am a 68 yr old NZ citizen who has been living and working in Australia for 9 years. If I went back to NZ for a couple of years and then returned to Australia to live permanently , do I have to be in Australia again for a certain period of time before I can receive the Age Pension?

      Reply
      • JJ Smith

        May 17, 2021 at 10:02 pm

        Hi Pam,
        Thank you for your comment.
        I’ve included all the information I can find online in the post you have read. Unfortunately I can’t give you a definitive answer.
        From what I know, you will be able to return to Australia after living in NZ for a couple of years and still get the pension because of the social security agreement.
        However, I recommend you visit your local Centerlink office or call them on
        132 300, Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, to get confirmation.
        Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

        Reply
  4. lorraine Brunton

    April 28, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    My question is my husband and I are thinking about a possible move to Melbourne. My husband has a medical condition which is treated here in New Zealand at the public hospital every 2 months in a day ward. Would this be something that could continued in Australia?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 2, 2021 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Lorraine,
      Thank you for your comment.
      New Zealanders on an SCV are eligible for Medicare where we get free treatment as a public hospital patient: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/medicare-australia/.
      If you want to email me more about his condition I can research it further for you. However, if you get free treatment in NZ, then you should get free treatment in Australia through Medicare.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  5. Patricia Morgan

    February 1, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Hi JJ,
    Firstly thanks so much for your website – I am a New Zealander living in Australia, I’ve been here since 2006 and am wondering about staying (I’m now 64), or going back to New Zealand. I am able to apply for Australian Citizenship though it will take somewhere between 13-17 months for my application to be processed, and there is a chance that I wouldn’t get it. As I am close to retirement I’m wondering if it is worth applying for Australian Citzenship and probably more importantly if being a dual citizen will impact my ability to get the old age pension if I go back to live in New Zealand? Would you know about the impacts of dual citizenship on eligability for the New Zealand old age pension for a New Zealander who has Australian citizenship living in New Zealand? Thanks for your help with this. All the best, Patricia

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 4, 2021 at 1:46 am

      Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately the information I have in my Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension? post is all the information I have.
      Neither Centrelink or Work and Income have been able to give me further information, as their too many variables depending on a person’s circumstances.
      From what I understand, being a Australia Citizen does not change your eligibility to get the Australia pension.
      I recommend you call Centerlink and ask them your questions and even Work and Income in NZ.
      If you have any advice for further readers of my blog, please reply and I will update my site. As mentioned above, it’s hard to get good advice.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Thanks

      Reply
  6. Bevan

    January 24, 2021 at 4:09 am

    Hi JJ,
    I have been living in Aus on a SCV since 1998 and recently qualified for a part Aus Pension after the income and asset test. Can I now apply for NZ Super payment as well. Also, my wife is now 65, is she able to apply for NZ Super now as she’s not eligible for Aus pension until she’s 66.5 years old.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 4, 2021 at 1:45 am

      Hi Bevan,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately the information I have in my Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension? post is all the information I have.
      Neither Centrelink or Work and Income have been able to give me further information, as their too many variables depending on a person’s circumstances.
      I recommend you and your wife call Work and Income in NZ and ask them: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/contact-us/phone-numbers.html.
      If you have any advice for further readers of my blog, please reply and I will update my site. As mentioned above, it’s hard to get good advice.
      Also, if you are eligible, then make sure you setup and account with OFX or XE so you are not charged extra fees when you transfer your pension from NZ to Australia: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Thanks

      Reply
  7. John

    August 2, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Hi,
    I am over 65, single, and are currently getting my Super An. in New Zealand.My plan is to move to Western Australia where my brother work and live.What I do know is that I can go and apply for Super An. in Australia and I will get it if I qualify.
    What I do NOT know is….will I qualify for the same medical benefits as a Australian citizen??
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Louise

    July 12, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Hi,

    My Dad is living in Australia and has been there for 12 years. He is now 70 and still working full-time. Would he be entitled to anything?

    Louise

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      July 20, 2020 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Louise,
      Thank you for your comment.
      As you would have read in my post if he lives in Australia he may qualify for a benefit or pension from both Australia and New Zealand. As stated, he must apply for a benefit or pension in both countries.
      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.
      He will need to get application forms from his local Centerlink office or call Centerlink International Services regarding the Australian Super.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  9. Sherryl

    July 7, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Hi

    I am a NZ citizen i did live in Australia when I was young for two years.
    I have half my family in Perth and Sunshine Coast.
    I would like to retire in Australia to be close to grand kids but could I get a pension
    Either Australian or NZ?
    Would this be an option for me?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      July 21, 2020 at 12:19 am

      Hi Sherryl,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes you will be eligible for either or both NZ and Australia pensions and once you have moved over you will need to apply for the Australian pension, along with the NZ pension.
      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.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  10. Rachel

    June 10, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Hi there,
    My parents are wanting to relocate to Australia. They are both over 65 and in receipt of NZ pension. They haven’t lived in Australia, however they have lived in NZ all their adult lives. My question is, to be eligible for pension in Australia (subject to income and assets test) would they have had to live and work in Australia previously? Or is their time in New Zealand sufficient.
    Thanks you!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 10, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Are your parents NZ Citizens? If they are then they will be covered by the New Zealand Social Security Agreement with Australia. So if they pass they income and asset tests then they will be eligible.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
      • Rachel Tyrrell

        May 3, 2021 at 5:35 am

        Hi! Just saw your reply. Yes they are both NZ citizens
        Thank you!
        Rachel

        Reply
  11. Stan Ford

    March 29, 2020 at 4:23 am

    I am from NZ have worked in AU for 7 years, lost my job because of the virus , have little money can’t fly back home , can I get some help from some ware , desperate for money.

    Reply
  12. Lisa

    January 25, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Hi everyone, I lived in Sydney for 17 years and have come back to NZ but want go back to Australia in a few years to spend the rest of my life…
    Will I be entitled to a pension.. I read that you need to have worked for at least ten years in Aussie, which I did but by the time I head back there will be 5/6 year gap.
    Any info much appreciated
    Cheers
    Lisa

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 5, 2020 at 1:37 am

      Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I cannot find anywhere that it stats any gap in residing in Australia will effect your eligibility to receive the age pension.
      I recommend you contact Centerlink to confirm that you are eligible and how much you will receive, so you know exactly where you stand when making the move back: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  13. Fran

    January 14, 2020 at 2:47 am

    Hi JJ
    I’m in my mid fifties and have lived and worked in Oz for almost 10 yrs on a non-protected SCV. I am thinking about my retirement (in 10+ yrs) and have been given conflicting information regarding eligibility for a pension. I have been told that I am not eligible for a Australian pension, and that I will not be eligible for a NZ pension if I haven’t worked and lived in NZ for at least 5 yrs before I retire…. 🙁 Can you let me know if it is worth becoming an Australian Permanent Resident (Partner Pathway; as I have an Australian partner for 6yrs) at the cost of $7500 + 2-3 yrs timeframe?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 3, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Fran,
      Thank you for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      From all my research online, I don’t agree with what you have been told. The Australia pension is asset and income tested, but apart from that you should be eligible.
      Have you spoken to Centerlink and the IRD? They are really the only people who will be able to assess you individual circumstances and let you know where you stand.
      If you aren’t able to get the Australian pension then it would be worth looking into becoming an Australian PR.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  14. Sana

    June 23, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Hi JJ
    I’m a non protected SCV NZ citizen living in Australia since Jan 2010. I and my now 22 year old both have been living here since Jan 2010.
    I have worked all along with periods of unemployment where I got zero help from Continuing etc. I worry that I might get injured in a non-work situation (a NZ friend recently got injured recently) and being non-work related and with a 22yr old that is totally dependant on me (housing. Bills. Uni fees etc as he does not get HECS/student loan in Australia as we are not Australian citizens) I worry about how I’ll cope if couldn’t work due to an injury which cannot for example be classified as ‘severe disability ‘
    Does Work n Income help in such a situation or then does Centerlink help Nz citizens who are not Australian citizen? ( I cannot apply for permanent residency as I’m in my mid 50s and don’t meet the age requirement)
    If I got injured and couldnt work I would still want to remain here in OZ to be closer to my older son who is also employed here
    Please advise what happens in such a complex scenario?
    I mean I live and rent my older son’s house. Have furniture, car, etc etc for a comfortable life and it would be difficult to just pack and leave for nz in an emergency where I couldn’t work and couldnt have money for my regular bills until I got better after an injury/surgery/etc which are not of a permanent disability nature. But I would still need help to get through that difficult period where I couldn’t work n pay my bills n rent etc
    Please advise what the law is on such a borderline situation?
    Thanks :))

    Reply
  15. Bess

    May 30, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Kia ora,
    I am a superannuant..my husband is not.
    We would like to move to Perth,closer to children & help out with grandchildren…
    Our children are there due to good jobs,as there ain’t any here in Whitianga…
    Do you know of people like us who have done this,that can advise us.
    I am heavily involved in community affairs am a JP…work part time in my own digital embroidery business.& church business.
    No medical problems.”.clean bill of health.
    …just want to be wth kids & grandkids now.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 9, 2019 at 11:57 pm

      Hi Bess,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      I see that you have read my post – Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension? Hopefully this answered most of your questions regarding getting the pension in Australia.
      I don’t have anyone that I can put you in touch with, but am happy to try answer any specific questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
      • Bess

        June 25, 2019 at 11:22 pm

        Kia ora,
        I’m wanting to talk to someone who has sold up & bought over i Perth /Aus ..to be with whanau & mokopuna.
        We love our home here in Whitianga,but our kids are all working in Perth…& have been for years.
        We now want to move over & be close to them & help out …with the time we have left.
        Kia ora
        Bess

        Reply

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