Greek benefits and pensions paid in New Zealand

Information for people who are entitled to Greek benefits and pensions who now live in NZ

Common questions and answers

Updated June 2011

Who is entitled to Greek Benefits and Pensions paid in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a social security agreement with Greece. Under the Agreement the following benefits and pensions are available to former Greek residents living in New Zealand:

  • Old Age Pension
  • Disability Pension
  • Survivor's Pension
  • Funeral Grant

The Social Security Institute (Idryma Kinonikon Asfaliseon - IKA), the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (Organismos Georgikon Asfaliseon - OGA) and the Agency for Insurance Professionals (Οργανισμού Ασφάλισης Ελευθέρων Επαγγελματιών - OAEE) are the three major insurance institutions who decide who can receive a Greek benefit or pension and how much will be paid.

Entitlement can vary depending on the insurance institution.

For more information about Greek benefits and pensions, see:

How do I apply for a Greek benefit or pension?

If you have previously lived in Greece and you are not already getting a Greek benefit or pension, you need to complete an application form. You can contact Senior Services who will send you the form.

We will forward your application to the relevant Greek insurance institution that administers the Greek social security scheme.

Once you have submitted your application the Greek insurance institution will contact you directly to tell you their decision.

You need to provide:

  • two forms of identification for yourself and one form of identification for your spouse/partner
  • your Greek insurance book
  • the "Notification of Residence details in NZ" form
  • verification of the bank account you wish your Greek payments to go into
  • any other information that you think will be helpful.

Why do I need to apply for a Greek Benefit or Pension?

You and your spouse or partner are required, under the Social Security Act 2018 (sections 173-176), to take all reasonable steps to apply for any overseas benefit or pension for which you may be eligible. If you, or your spouse or partner, do not apply for any Greek benefit or pension for which you may be eligible, you risk losing your entitlement to a New Zealand benefit or pension

How much Greek benefit or pension will I receive in New Zealand?

Generally the amount of Greek pension you are paid is dependent on the amount of insurance contributions you have made to the Greek insurance fund. Entitlement can vary depending on the insurance institution.

The relevant Greek insurance institution decides whether you qualify for a Greek benefit or pension using Greek law and how much Greek benefit or pension you can be paid in New Zealand.

For more information about the rates of Greek benefits or pensions see:

Will the amount of Greek benefit or pension be increased while I live in New Zealand?

The rate of pension is determined by the individual insurance institution. If you are entitled to an increase in your Greek benefit or pension you will be notified by the Greek insurance institution.

How often will I receive payments of my Greek benefit or pension in New Zealand?

For those clients living in New Zealand your Greek benefit or pension is paid monthly.

Will my Greek benefit or pension affect the amount of New Zealand benefit or pension I get?

Sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018 requires the rate of New Zealand benefit or pension to be reduced where an overseas pension is:

  • part of a programme that provides benefits, pensions and periodical allowances for similar circumstances for which New Zealand benefits, pensions and periodical allowances would be paid (for example old age/retirement, invalidity and survivors pensions); and
  • administered by, or on behalf of, an overseas government.

The Greek Old Age Pension, Disability Pension and Survivor's Pension fit within the requirements in section 70 because:

  • these benefits and pensions are part of the Greek social security scheme which provides Greek benefits and pensions for similar types of circumstances for which New Zealand benefits and pensions would be paid. For example, the Greek Old Age Pension and New Zealand Superannuation both provide financial support in old age; and
  • Greek benefits and pensions are administered by the relevant insurance institute under the authority and supervision of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Social Security and the Ministry of Labour.

This means that, if you are entitled to a Greek benefit or pension paid by a Social Insurance Institute it will be deducted dollar for dollar from your New Zealand benefit or pension payments. The Greek Funeral Grant will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Are there any instances where the Greek benefit or pension does not affect the rate of New Zealand benefit or pension?

There is no provision in New Zealand legislation that would allow the amount of the Greek benefit or pension to be disregarded when determining the amount of New Zealand benefit or pension to be paid.

However if you travel or move to a country other than New Zealand or Greece you may be entitled to a proportional amount of New Zealand benefit or pension based on the amount of time that you have lived in New Zealand. When paid this rate of New Zealand benefit or pension your Greek benefit or pension generally does not affect the rate of your New Zealand benefit or pension.

However there are some exceptions. For more information about moving or travelling to a third country contact:

Am I entitled to other payments in addition to a New Zealand benefit or pension?

You may also be eligible for extra help such as a Disability Allowance for medical costs and an Accommodation Supplement for accommodation expenses. Contact Senior Services or Work and Income to check whether you are entitled to extra help.

Does my Greek benefit or pension affect my spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension?

This depends on the amount of Greek benefit or pension you receive. If the amount of Greek benefit or pension you receive is less than your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement, the amount of your spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension is not affected. If the amount of Greek benefit or pension you receive is greater than your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement, the amount of Greek benefit or pension that exceeds the amount of your New Zealand benefit or pension entitlement will be deducted from your spouse or partner's New Zealand benefit or pension.

Does my spouse or partner's Greek benefit or pension affect my New Zealand benefit or pension?

If you receive a New Zealand benefit or pension and your spouse or partner does not, any Greek benefit or pension that your spouse or partner receives will be deducted from your New Zealand benefit or pension.

Why can't I keep the full Greek benefit or pension and the full New Zealand benefit or pension?

Sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018 ensures that the combined amount you receive from your New Zealand benefit or pension and any overseas benefit or pension is equivalent to the amount you would receive if you only received New Zealand benefit or pension.

For example, it takes 10 years before a person becomes entitled to New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension. So if you were to receive a partial Greek Retirement pension as well as the full amount of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension, you would receive more state retirement pension than those superannuitants who have lived all their lives in New Zealand and who have contributed to the funding of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension for a longer period of time through paying their taxes.

What options are available for payment of my Greek benefit or pension in New Zealand?

Your Greek benefit or pension is paid direct into your own bank account.

Do similar benefits or pensions from other overseas countries also affect payment of New Zealand benefit or pension?

Yes, where the requirements of sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018 are met, people eligible for a benefit or pension from another overseas country will have the amount of that benefit or pension amount deducted from their New Zealand benefit or pension.

How do I find out about my own individual situation?

The rules around international agreements are complex. You should speak with us to clarify your own individual situation.

linksContact us

Please contact our International Services Team for more information