Pensions and discounts for seniors 

Who can get New Zealand Superannuation?

New Zealand Superannuation (also known as 'NZ Superannuation', NZ Super' or 'Super') is a regular payment that is made to eligible senior citizens, and which is not means-tested.

You might be eligible for New Zealand Super if you:

  • are over 65,
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident,
  • usually live here, and
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20, with five of those years since you turned 50. If you migrated to New Zealand from a country with which New Zealand has a Social Security Agreement, you may qualify even if you’ve lived in New Zealand for less than 10 years.

You may be able to get NZ Superannuation payments before you turn 65 if your partner is already eligible and is willing to include you in his/her payments (see I’m eligible for NZ Super, but my wife is not. Can I apply for my NZ Super to cover both of us?).

The amount you’ll get will depend on your situation. You can earn income while receiving NZ Super payments - but as NZ Super is taxed it may affect the amount of tax you have to pay on your total income. 

You should be aware that there are obligations associated with receiving NZ Super.

For more information about NZ Super and other services for seniors, you can visit the Work and Income website or ring Senior Services on 0800 552 002 (Monday to Friday 8am-5pm).

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How do I apply for NZ Superannuation?

If you want to start receiving your 'super' on the date you turn 65 years, you’ll need to apply three to four weeks before then. Otherwise, you will only receive payments from the date of your application.

It’s quickest to apply online via the Work and Income website. Alternatively you can call 0800 552 002 (Monday to Friday 8am-5pm) to arrange an appointment. If you choose to make an appointment, you’ll need to bring a completed application form - you can download a copy or ask Work and Income to send you one.

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I’m eligible for NZ Super, but my wife is not. Can I apply for my NZ Super to cover both of us?

If your partner (whether married, de facto or in a civil union) is not eligible for NZ Superannuation, you can apply for them to be included in your payments.

If you include your partner in your payments, the amount you receive will depend on how much you and your partner earn. If your joint income, from sources other than the NZ Super, is more than $100 per week before tax, your Super payments would be reduced by 70 cents for every dollar earned over $100 (before tax). If you don’t include your partner in your payments, then the amount you receive is not affected by your other income sources or your partner’s income.

You can contact Senior Services if you are interested in proceeding, and they can help you work out whether you would be financially better off by including your non-eligible partner in your NZ Superannuation payments.  

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Will my NZ Superannuation payments be affected if I move in with someone?

The amount of your NZ Superannuation payments is likely to change if your living situation changes. This is because the rates of NZ Superannuation vary depending on whether you are living alone, living in shared accommodation or in a marriage or de facto relationship.

You are obliged to contact Senior Services (0800 552 002, Monday to Friday 8am-5pm) if your living situation changes.

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Will I still receive my NZ Superannuation if I travel overseas?

This could depend on how long you’ll be away.

You should advise Work and Income before you leave if: 

  • you or your partner will be out of the country for more than four weeks, or
  • you don’t know when you will return, or
  • you plan to travel overseas more than once during a 12-month period.

If you are planning to spend no more than 26 weeks overseas, your payments should continue as normal while you are away.

If you plan to be away for more than 26 weeks but don’t plan to reside in any of the countries you enter, you may still be able to receive up to 100% of your NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension payments while you are away.

You will need to make an appointment with your nearest Work and Income service centre at least six weeks before your departure, to apply to receive your payments while you are overseas. Bring a completed application form, your passports, another form of ID, and your travel itinerary or tickets to the meeting.

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Will I still receive my NZ Super if I go to another country to live?

If you decide to live in another country, you may still be able to receive all or part of your NZ Superannuation (or Veteran's Pension). It will depend on where you plan to move to and how long you have lived in New Zealand. You will need to contact the Senior Services International team before you leave.

If New Zealand has a social security agreement with the country you’re planning to move to, this will make it easier. If you are planning to reside in any of the following countries, click on the corresponding link for the appropriate information:

  • Australia - you’ll receive your NZ Superannuation payments for up to 26 weeks after you leave New Zealand. Within this period you can apply for the Australian Age Pension. 
  • Canada, Denmark, Greece , Republic of Ireland , Jersey and Guernsey, The Netherlands - you may be able to continue receiving your NZ Superannuation and other income support, based on how long you’ve lived in New Zealand since the age of 20 years.
  • United Kingdom (UK) - you can’t be paid any New Zealand benefits or pensions - they’ll be stopped the day after you leave New Zealand. However you may qualify for UK benefits or pensions, and you can apply for these once you are in the UK.

 
New Zealand has a special arrangement with 22 Pacific countries. If you’re going to live in one of these Pacific countries for more than 52 weeks, you can continue to receive your NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension.

To be eligible for receiving NZ Super while living in one of the Pacific countries mentioned above you must be eligible for NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension in your own right (i.e. not as a partner of an eligible person), and you must be living in New Zealand when you apply. How much you receive will depend on how long you’ve lived in New Zealand since the age of 20.

If you’re moving to any other country, you may still be able to receive up to 100% of your NZ Superannuation (depending on how much time you’ve lived in New Zealand). You’ll need to qualify for the NZ Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension in your own right, be living in New Zealand when you apply for the transfer of payments, plan to live there for more than 26 weeks, and complete an application form.

You’ll need to contact Work and Income at least six weeks before you leave.

If you have questions about this or need more information, contact the Senior Services International team.

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I'm a New Zealand citizen who's been living in Australia. Will I be eligible for the NZ Super if I return to New Zealand to live?

If you return to New Zealand before you turn 65, you can simply apply for NZ Superannuation when you become eligible. (see the first question).

If you reach the eligible age while you are still living in Australia, you will first have to apply to Centrelink for the Australian Age pension. Once your pension application is granted, Centrelink will ask you to apply for the New Zealand pension. Your payments will then be a mix of Australian Age Pension payments and NZ Superannuation payments.

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Can I get a full NZ Super as well as my UK pension?

In general, if you receive an overseas pension (including from the UK) then your NZ Superannuation payments will be reduced. The net result is that the amount you receive is around the same as if you had lived in New Zealand all of your life.

There's more information on the Work and Income website about the United Kingdom social security agreement and receiving an overseas benefit or pension while living in New Zealand.

For information more specific to your situation call the WINZ International Services office on 0800 777 227.

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Are there any special benefits for war veterans?

You can apply for the Veteran’s Pension instead of the NZ Superannuation if you:

  • have served in a war or other emergency as part of New Zealand armed forces, and
  • are a New Zealand resident and normally in New Zealand, and
  • are aged 65 years or over and are receiving the War Disablement Pension of at least a 70% level of disability. (The Veteran’s pension is also available if you are aged under 65 years and have a disability which prevents you from working long-term or permanently.)

The Disablement Pension is an award for people who have a disability which has resulted from, or been aggravated by, military service. You can contact Veterans' Affairs for more information about this Pension.

The Returned Services Association (RSA) can also provide financial assistance and other support to veterans.

Veterans may also be eligible for a number of allowances, grants and pensions. For more information visit the Work and Income website or contact the Veteran’s Pension Centre.

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What is a SuperGold Card, and how do I get one?

The SuperGold Card is a discount card for senior citizens living in New Zealand. Cardholders can get discounts on a wide range of services such as public transport, accommodation and hearing aids. You can search for discounts online at the SuperGold website.

You’ll receive your SuperGold Card automatically soon after you are granted the NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension.

Otherwise if you are aged 65 and over and want to apply for a SuperGold Card, you can call the SuperGold Card Centre on 0800 25 45 65 or download an application form.

More information about getting a SuperGold Card is on the SuperGold website.

If you lose your SuperGold Card, you can apply for a replacement by calling 0800 25 45 65.

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As a superannuitant, do I have to pay bank charges?

Although there is no legal obligation to do so, most major banks offer concessions on monthly base fees and/or transaction fees (but not necessarily on every type of account) to people receiving NZ Super. Some concessions apply automatically and others you need to apply for.

Generally, if your NZ Super payments are direct-credited into your bank account the bank will waive some or all of the fees for that account. Some banks will offer the same concession if you have a private pension or UK pension which is direct-credited into the bank account.

Other concessions which may be available to you include discounts on insurance products (e.g. home and contents) and reduction of credit card fees.

If you think that you’ve somehow missed out on senior citizen concessions you should ask the bank staff about it.

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Can I receive ACC weekly compensation payments at the same time as I receive NZ Super?

Not necessarily. It depends on when you became entitled to ACC weekly compensation payments:

  • If you’ve received ACC weekly compensation payments for two years or more when you become eligible for NZ Superannuation, you will no longer be entitled to ACC weekly payments.  
  • If you qualify for ACC weekly compensation payments within 12 to 24 months of becoming eligible for NZ Superannuation, you are entitled to receive ACC payments for 24 months. However, at the point when you become eligible for NZ Superannuation you must choose between receiving either ACC payments or NZ Superannuation. At the end of the 24-month period your entitlement to ACC weekly compensation ends, but your entitlement to NZ Superannuation continues.
  • If you qualify for ACC weekly compensation payments in the 12 months before becoming eligible for NZ Superannuation, or any time after you started receiving NZ Superannuation, you can receive both ACC and NZ Superannuation payments for the 12 months starting from either the date you qualify for NZ Superannuation or the date you become entitled to ACC payments (whichever is later). When that 12 months is up, you must choose between receiving either ACC payments or NZ Superannuation for another 12 months. After that, your entitlement to ACC weekly compensation ends, but your entitlement to NZ Superannuation continues.

More about this is on the Work and Income website.

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Will I still get my NZ Superannuation payments if I have to go into hospital for several months?

You are obliged to advise Work and Income if you expect to be in hospital for more than 13 weeks (more about your obligations is on the Work and Income website).

Your NZ Superannuation payments will not be affected for the first 13 weeks of your hospital stay – but your payments may be reduced after this period. Whether your payments are affected will be at the discretion of Work and Income.