Getting an overseas benefit or pension in New Zealand

You may be able to get benefits or pensions from us and from overseas countries you have lived in. It's up to the benefit or pension agency of the country making the payment to decide who can get one.


If you get any overseas benefits or pensions you must let us know as it may affect the amount you get from us.

Overseas pensions and benefits are benefits, pensions and periodical allowances paid under a programme that:

  • provides benefits, pensions and periodical allowances for the same circumstances for which New Zealand benefits or pensions would be paid (e.g. old age/retirement, survivor's and disability pensions); and
  • is administered by, or on behalf of, an overseas government.

You and your spouse/partner are legally obliged to apply for any overseas benefit or pension to which you may be entitled if you want to receive New Zealand benefits and pensions.

  • Who can get overseas benefits or pensions

    The rules for getting overseas benefits and pensions are different for each country. Some countries have social security agreements with New Zealand which:

    • may make it easier for you to get an overseas benefit or pension from that country
    • make it easier for you to get a benefit or pension from New Zealand
    • allow you to get benefit or pension from both countries.

    If you've spent time living in a country that New Zealand has a social security agreement with, it may be counted as New Zealand residence to allow you to get a New Zealand benefit or pension.

  • Spouse or partner obligations

    If your spouse or partner is able to get an overseas state social security benefit or pension it may affect your New Zealand benefits or pensions.

    The rules differ for overseas benefits or pensions depending on whether:

    • you both get NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension in your own right
    • you’re included in your partner’s NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension
    • you get a New Zealand benefit or pension in your own right.
  • How much you can get

    The direct deduction of an overseas state-administered benefit or pension reduces NZ Super, Veteran's Pensions and other New Zealand social security benefits on a dollar for dollar basis (sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018).

    • The amount you’ll get depends on what type of New Zealand benefit or pension you’re getting. The overseas pension affects different New Zealand payments in different ways. There's more information in our Overseas Pensions Questions and Answers page.
    • Overseas benefits or pensions that include voluntary contributions are treated differently. The amount of any voluntary contribution is not deductible.

    Note: The Australian Carer Supplement will be deducted from your New Zealand benefit or pension from 1 July 2016.

  • How to apply

    Tell us if you've lived overseas

    When you apply for a New Zealand benefit or pension you must tell us if you've lived overseas. If you need help contact our International Services team. They will help you check your overseas benefit and pension entitlements.

    Apply for overseas payments

    You and your spouse or partner must apply for any overseas state social security benefits or pensions that you may be able to get. If you don't, you may lose your entitlement to a New Zealand benefit or pension.

  • Payment options

    There are two payment methods for getting an overseas state social security benefit or pension in New Zealand:

    1. The direct payment method.
    2. The special banking option.

    You can choose to be paid using the special banking option if you get a New Zealand benefit or pension and also get a benefit or pension from one of the following countries:

    • Australia
    • The Netherlands
    • The United Kingdom
    • Ireland
    • Jersey and Guernsey

    Otherwise you're paid by the direct payment method.

    1. The direct payment method

    With the direct payment option:

    • your overseas pension and New Zealand payments are separate
    • you get your full overseas pension
    • your New Zealand benefit or pension is reduced by the amount of your overseas pension (you're paid the difference)
    • your payments will vary with exchange rates
    • the overseas social security agency pays you according to their payment cycle
    • any money you get from us is paid every one or two weeks
    • you're responsible for paying tax in New Zealand on your overseas pension.

    2. The special banking option

    With the special banking option:

    • your overseas benefit or pension is paid into a special bank account that only Work and Income and the bank can access
    • you get a single payment which is the full amount of the New Zealand benefit or pension, regardless of how much your overseas pension is
    • your payments aren't affected by exchange rates so you know exactly how much you'll get each pay day
    • we deduct tax before we pay you
    • you'll need to pay tax on any payments of your overseas pension that continue to be paid directly to you such as:
      • holiday pay
      • private pensions
      • any portion of your pension based on voluntary contributions.

    The special banking option is not suitable if:

    • your overseas pension is more than the New Zealand pension or benefit as we can't pay more than the full amount of your New Zealand benefit or pension
    • you're entitled to the full amount of your New Zealand pension as well as your overseas pension.

    Application packs for the special banking option

    These packs contain the forms needed to apply for the special banking option. Once the forms have been completed they need to be sent to International Services to be processed

  • Overseas pension deduction examples

    Four examples of how the deduction of your overseas pensions may affect your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlements.

  • Common questions about overseas pensions

    Questions and answers on overseas pensions for clients living in New Zealand and who can get an overseas benefit or pension.

  • Review and changes in circumstances

    You can ask for a review if you do not agree with any decision we make. Your New Zealand benefit and pension may be reviewed at any time. This applies to individuals and couples.

    To ensure you receive your correct entitlement you must keep us up to date with your circumstances.

    If there are changes to you or your partner’s circumstances, you need to let us know. This includes:

    • living situation
    • personal details
    • overseas benefit or pension amounts
    • absence from New Zealand.


Our International Services team specialise in overseas pensions.

Contact International Services