Travelling for more than 26 weeks
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 (NZ Super) or Veteran’s Pension payments while you’re away.
You need to contact us at least six weeks before you leave New Zealand to apply to get your payment overseas.
Who can get it
You can get up to 100% of your full NZ Super or Veteran's Pension when you travel to one or more countries for longer than 26 weeks that:
- New Zealand does not have a Social Security Agreement with
- is not one of the 22 Pacific countries covered by the special portability.
You’ll need to:
- qualify for the NZ Super 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.
The time you have been outside of New Zealand may be counted towards the time you have lived in New Zealand.
These circumstances can be:
- if you (or your spouse/partner) were doing missionary work on behalf of a religious body
- for special medical or surgical treatment
- vocational training
- mariner working on New Zealand registered or owned ships
- member of a New Zealand or Commonwealth defence force serving overseas
- if you (or your spouse/partner) were working overseas and paying New Zealand income tax on earnings
- as a volunteer appointed by Volunteer Services Abroad Incorporated.
Qualification under social security agreement
If you have qualified for New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension using your contributory periods or residence in one of the countries New Zealand has a social security agreement with please talk to us first before you make any travel bookings.
Most of the social security agreements contain provisions which prevent the payment of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension to persons who:
- travel to and around non Agreement countries for more than 26 weeks or
- who intend to reside in a non-Agreement country for more than 26 weeks.
How much can you get?
- The amount of NZ Super 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. (See the previous "Who can get it" section of this page).
Extra financial 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 whilst you are 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).
- You must complete and return to us within 4 weeks or you may find your payments may stop. Y
- 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.
Note: When you contact us, the information given to you is dependent on the legislation at the time. This can be confirmed by a letter or email on request.
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.
Don’t close your New Zealand bank account until you receive your first payment into your overseas account.
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.
- 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.
Our International team specialise in paying New Zealand benefits and pensions while you are overseas. They are the best people to contact if you have any questions.