Travelling for more than 26 weeks

You can get up to 100% of your full New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension when you travel to one or more countries for longer than 26 weeks. You need to contact us at least six weeks before you leave New Zealand to apply for payment overseas so that we can make sure you continue to get your right entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension.

Who can get it

If you are planning to travel for more than 26 weeks through one or more countries and have no intention of living in any of the countries you’re visiting, you may be able to receive up to 100% of your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension payments while you’re away.

You’ll need to:

  • qualify for the New Zealand Superannuation or the Veteran’s Pension in your own right and not be ‘included’ in your partner’s payments
  • be ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
  • intend to travel overseas for more than 26 weeks
  • complete an application for payment which states the country or countries in which you intend to travel.

How much can you get?

The amount of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension you get depends on the amount of months you’ve resided in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65.

If you have a spouse or partner, they can only get NZ Super or the VP payments overseas if they qualify in their own right.  This means they can't be 'included' as a non-qualified spouse or partner in your payments once you leave New Zealand.

If you receive an overseas pension and you are going to travel through one or more countries for more than 26 weeks, any overseas pension you receive will generally not be taken into account. This is because your payments are calculated according to the amount of time you’ve resided in New Zealand.

If you have resided in New Zealand for the full 45 years (540 months) since age 20 and up to age 65, you will be able to receive the full rate. If you have resided in New Zealand for less than 45 years, then a calculation will show the proportion of the full rate that you will be paid. The calculation is based on the number of months that you have resided in New Zealand, divided by 540 months (the equivalent of 45 years).

Below is an example of how the payment rate is calculated when travelling in one or more countries for more than 26 weeks:

If you've resided in New Zealand...You'll get...
for 18 years between the ages of 20 and 65  18 years in New Zealand = 216 months. Therefore you would get (216/540) x the New Zealand Superannuation basic rate.

If you have been overseas (between the ages of 20 and 65), but you remained ordinarily resident in New Zealand during your absence, we may be able to count those absences as if you were resident in New Zealand when calculating the amount you will be paid. This includes any period of New Zealand absence:

  • for the purpose of obtaining any medical treatment or vocational training if there were good and sufficient reasons for leaving New Zealand to obtain this;
  • while serving on board any ship registered or owned in New Zealand and engaged in trading to and from New Zealand;
  • while serving as a member of any defence force of any Commonwealth country or serving in connection with any war in which New Zealand forces were involved as a member of any organisation attached to any of those forces;
  • while serving as an accredited volunteer appointed by Volunteer Service Abroad Incorporated;
  • while (or while the client’s spouse is) undertaking missionary work as a member of, or on behalf of, any religious body; and
  • where a person (or their spouse) was liable to pay New Zealand tax on the earnings from their overseas employment.

Extra help

If you travel overseas for more than 26 weeks, we are unable to pay extra help such as the Disability Allowance, family tax credit or the Accommodation Supplement. These payments will stop from the day after you leave New Zealand.

How to apply

You need to complete an application form and arrange an appointment at your nearest Work and Income Service Centre at least six weeks before you leave New Zealand. Contact us to arrange a meeting

You (and your spouse or partner) will need to bring:

  • your passport
  • another form of identification
  • your travel itinerary or tickets.

You will need these to help complete an application form for payment overseas. Please keep our Senior Services - International team well informed of any changes to your travel plans. This is so we can make sure we are paying you the correct amount.

To make sure we pay you the correct amount, we will send you a ‘client declaration’ form every 6 or 12 months (depending on your circumstances) that you must complete and return to us within 4 weeks or you may find your payments may stop. You still need to let us know every time any of your circumstances change so that we can make sure we are paying you the correct amount.

How you’ll be paid

If you’re going away for more than 26 weeks and are entitled to receive payments while travelling overseas, you have choices about how you’re paid. Payments can be made direct to your New Zealand bank account every two weeks or to your overseas bank account every four weeks.

Please note that once you’re travelling overseas for more than 26 weeks, it can take around 6 weeks to change your payments to your overseas bank account.

Don’t close your New Zealand bank account until you receive your first payment into your overseas account.

Tax

Payments are made at a gross rate when you are travelling for more than 26 weeks. You will need to contact New Zealand Inland Revenue to determine your tax liability.

We will send you a tax certificate every April which will show what you have been paid during the previous financial year, while you have been overseas.

For more information

Our Senior Services - International team specialise in paying New Zealand benefits and pensions overseas. They are the best people to contact for questions about getting your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension while travelling or residing overseas. They can explain the rules so you’ll know what to expect.

It is important you talk to us early about your intentions to travel overseas for more than 26 weeks. When you call us the information given over the phone is conditional upon the information provided by you and the legislation applying at the time and will be confirmed by a letter or email upon request.