Social security agreement with Greece

Information if you get NZ Super or other NZ entitlements and are living in Greece or are living in New Zealand and get an Greek pension.

This information is for:

  • New Zealanders who resided, are residing or are going to reside in Greece
  • Former Greek residents who resided, are residing or are going to reside in New Zealand.

Note: If you intend to only travel around Greece and then return to New Zealand or intend to travel around Greece and then to a third country please visit:

  • The Social Security Agreement

    New Zealand and Greece have a social security agreement. The Agreement covers the following benefits and pensions:

    New Zealand

    • New Zealand Superannuation
    • Veteran's Pension
    • Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)
    • Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers
    • Orphan's Benefit
    • Funeral Grant

    Greece

    • Old Age Benefit
    • Invalidity Benefit
    • Survivors Benefit
    • Funeral Grants

    The Agreement means that:

    • Some New Zealand benefits and pensions can be paid to New Zealanders going to reside in Greece.
    • New Zealanders who reside in Greece may be able to use their New Zealand residence after the age of 20 years to help them meet the residential/insurance criteria for Greek benefits and pensions.
    • When New Zealanders in Greece apply for a Greek benefit or pension, they can apply for a New Zealand benefit or pension as well.
    • Former Greek residents who now reside in New Zealand may be able to use their residence in Greece and/or their periods of insurance to the Greek National Insurance Scheme to meet the residential requirements for benefits or pensions in New Zealand.
    • When former Greek residents apply for a New Zealand benefit or pension and may also qualify for a Greek benefit or pension, they must apply for that Greek benefit or pension as well.

    Note: If you have resided in Greece or New Zealand for some time, you may qualify for benefits or pensions not covered by the Agreement.

    This document only applies to benefits and pensions covered by the Agreement.

    For more information, contact the local office of the Greek Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Greek Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) or Work and Income. See below for contact details.

    Phrases used

    "Ordinarily resident in New Zealand" describes a person who normally resides in New Zealand and intends to continue doing so. As there are a number of factors that prove "ordinarily resident in New Zealand", Work and Income decides this on a case by case basis.

    A partner is your spouse, or a person with whom you have a de facto relationship.

    The Social Security Institute (IKA) and the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) in Greece are the equivalents of Work and Income in New Zealand.

  • Getting a benefit or pension in Greece

    If you reside in Greece or intend to, you may qualify for benefits or pensions from both Greece and New Zealand.

    Receiving New Zealand benefits or pensions in Greece

    Work and Income uses certain criteria to decide who can receive a New Zealand benefit or pension in Greece, and how much will be paid.

    Can I receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension?

    You may be able to receive either of these in Greece if:

    • you are paid New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension, or you meet the New Zealand criteria (except being ordinarily resident in New Zealand)
    • you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (your periods of residence or insurance in Greece after the age of 20 may be able to be used for this but you must have resided in New Zealand for at least one year prior to the date you apply for payment)
    • you are in Greece or New Zealand when you apply
    • you intend to reside in Greece for at least 26 weeks
    • you are 65 or over (for New Zealand Superannuation)
    • you have the necessary service and disability qualifications (for Veteran's Pension).

    Note: You can receive either New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension, but not both.

    The Living alone rate

    The single living alone rate is not paid to people residing in Greece.

    Partners

    New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension paid into Greece does not include payments for partners who do not meet the criteria for either pension eg they are under 65 or do not meet the residency criteria.

    Can I receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)?

    You may be able to receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) in Greece if:

    • you are being paid the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind), or you meet the New Zealand criteria
    • you have been resident in New Zealand for at least two years continuously (your periods of residence and/or insurance in Greece may be able to be used for this but you must have resided in New Zealand for one year )
    • you must be ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you intend to reside in Greece
    • you are 16 or over
    • you are permanently and severely restricted in your capacity to work because of a health condition, injury or disability or you are blind.

    What happens if I have a partner?

    When we pay the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) in Greece, we may also be able to include payments for partners, even if they work or have never resided in New Zealand.

    Can I receive the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers?

    You may be able this to receive this in Greece if:

    • you are paid the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers, or you meet the New Zealand criteria
    • you have been resident in New Zealand for at least two years continuously (your periods of residence and/or insurance in Greece may be able to be used for this but you must have resided in New Zealand for one year)
    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you intend to reside in Greece
    • you are the parent of one of more dependent children whose other parent is deceased.

    Note: Partners that died in Greece may be treated as if they died in New Zealand.

    Can I receive an Orphan's Benefit?

    You may receive an Orphan's Benefit in Greece if:

    • you are paid an Orphan's Benefit or you meet the New Zealand criteria
    • you are in Greece or New Zealand when you apply
    • you intend to reside in Greece
    • the child you look after has resided in New Zealand for 12 months continuously or was born in New Zealand.
    • you are 18 or over
    • you are likely to look after the child for at least 12 months continuously
    • you are not the child's natural or adoptive parent.

    Can I receive a Funeral Grant?

    You may receive a Funeral Grant in Greece if you meet the standard New Zealand criteria and:

    • you receive a New Zealand benefit or pension through the Agreement
    • you are a surviving spouse or the principal caregiver residing in Greece
    • your late partner or child resided in New Zealand continuously for at least 12 months.

    Can I receive extra assistance?

    New Zealand supplementary benefits and allowances (Disability Allowance, Accommodation Supplement and Family Tax Credit (formerly Family Support)) are not paid to people residing outside New Zealand. They will usually stop the day after you leave New Zealand.

    If you reside in Greece, you may be able to receive extra help from Greece. Talk to the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) about this. See below for contact details.

    How do I apply for New Zealand benefits and pensions?

    You should apply before you leave New Zealand. If you wish to apply for the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers you must apply before you leave New Zealand.

    Applying from New Zealand

    At least four weeks before you are due to leave New Zealand, call Work and Income to arrange an interview.

    At the interview, you (and your partner) will complete an application form that includes details of your periods of residence in New Zealand. This will help Work and Income work out how much you should be paid.

    These are the things you need to take to the interview:

    • your passport
    • another form of identification (driver's license or birth certificate, marriage certificate)
    • your travel itinerary or tickets
    • your New Zealand or overseas bank account details that you want your payments made to (bank book, bank statement or deposit slip)
    • any documentation that shows your intent to reside in Greece eg accommodation agreement
    • any other information that you think will be helpful.

    You may need to take additional items depending on your situation. You can check this when you call to arrange an interview.

    When will my payments begin?

    If you are already being paid a New Zealand benefit or pension, the new payment usually starts from the first payment date after you leave New Zealand.

    If you are not already paid New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pension or Orphan's Benefit payment usually starts from the date of your application or the entitlement date - whichever is later.

    If you are not already being paid the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers, there may be a stand-down period before your payments begin.

    For more information, contact Work and Income. See below for contact details.

    Applying from Greece

    To apply for a New Zealand benefit or pension from Greece, contact the local office of the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA).

    Payment cannot start before you make your application.

    You (and your partner) will need to complete an application form and provide proof of the time you resided in New Zealand. This can include testimonials, work references and letters from neighbours and friends (please provide their contact details).

    You will also need:

    • proof of your identity (passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or driver's licence)
    • your bank account details so that payments can be made to you (bank book, bank statement or deposit slip).

    See below for contact details.

    Note: you must apply for the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers before you leave New Zealand.

    What if my circumstances change?

    Even if you are not residing in New Zealand, you must still tell Work and Income about any changes to your circumstances, eg you marry or change address. You also need to advise the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) of these changes. See below for contact details.

    Life certificates and renewal forms

    Work and Income will send you life certificates if you receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension, or renewal forms if you receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers, or Orphans Benefit.

    Make sure you return your life certificate or renewal form to Work and Income promptly. Your benefit or pension payments are suspended if they are not returned within eight weeks and cancelled if they are still not returned after 16 weeks.

    New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension

    A life certificate is issued every 12 months if you receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension while residing in Greece.

    In some cases a life certificate is issued every six months eg you use an agent, your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension payments are made to a New Zealand bank account, or you are over 80.

    Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind), Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers and Orphan's Benefit

    If you receive one of these benefits, you will be sent a renewal form every 12 months.

  • Getting a benefit or pension in New Zealand

    If you reside in New Zealand or you intend to, you may qualify for benefits or pensions from both New Zealand and Greece.

    If you are paid a New Zealand benefit or pension, you must apply for any Greek benefit or pension that you may be able to receive. You must also apply for any other overseas benefit or pension that you may be able to receive.

    The combined amount of your New Zealand and overseas payments receive will be similar to the amount you would have been paid if you spent all your life in New Zealand.

    Generally you must have permanent residence or New Zealand citizenship to be paid a New Zealand benefit or pension.

    If you already receive a Greek benefit or pension, or a benefit or pension from another country, you must tell Work and Income.

    Receiving Greek benefits or pensions in New Zealand

    The Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) in Greece decides who can receive Greek benefits or pensions and how much will be paid.

    If you have made contributions to the Greek National Insurance Scheme and you meet the general criteria for Greek benefits and pensions, you may be able to receive some of the following benefits or pensions:

    • Old Age Benefit
    • Survivors Benefit
    • Invalidity Benefit
    • Funeral Grants

    For more information about Greek benefits and pensions, contact the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA). See below for contact details.

    How do I apply for Greek benefits and pensions?

    You should apply before you leave Greece.

    If you already reside in New Zealand, contact Work and Income. See below for contact details.

    Receiving New Zealand benefits or pensions in New Zealand

    Work and Income uses certain criteria to decide who can get a benefit or pension in New Zealand, and how much will be paid.

    Can I receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension?

    You may be able to receive either of these if you have resided in Greece and:

    • you meet the criteria for New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension
    • you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (your periods of residence in Greece and/or Greek insurance may be able to be used for this)
    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand, or you have New Zealand citizenship
    • you intend to reside in New Zealand
    • you are 65 or over (for New Zealand Superannuation)
    • you have the necessary service and disability qualifications (for Veteran's Pension).

    Note: You can receive either New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension, but not both.

    Partners

    You may choose to include your partner if they do not meet the criteria for either pension eg they are under 65 or do not meet the residency criteria.

    If you choose to include your partner, the married rate of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension will be income tested. This means that the rate you are paid will depend on any income you and your partner have.

    Can I receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)?

    You may be able to receive the Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) if you have resided in Greece and:

    • you meet the criteria for New Zealand Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind)
    • you have been resident in New Zealand for at least two years continuously (your periods of residence in Greece and/or Greek insurance may be able to be used for this)
    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand, or you have New Zealand citizenship
    • you are 16 or over
    • you are permanently and severely restricted in your capacity to work because of a health condition, injury or disability or you are totally blind.

    Can I receive the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers?

    You may be able to receive this if you have resided in Greece and:

    • you meet the New Zealand criteria for the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers
    • you have been resident in New Zealand for at least two years continuously (your periods of residence in Greece and/or Greek insurance may be able to be used for this)
    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand, or you have New Zealand citizenship
    • you are 18 or over or if you are under 18 and were legally married or in a civil union
    • you are the parent of one of more dependent children whose other parent is deceased.

    Note: Partners that died in Greece may be treated as if they died in New Zealand.

    Can I receive an Orphan's Benefit?

    You may be able to receive an Orphan's Benefit if you have resided in Greece and:

    • you meet the New Zealand criteria for Orphan's Benefit
    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand, or you have New Zealand citizenship (
    • you are 18 or over
    • you are likely to look after the child for at least one year
    • you are the main caregiver of the child
    • you are not the child's natural or adoptive parent.

    Can I receive a Funeral Grant?

    You may be able to receive a Funeral Grant if you have resided in Greece, if your partner is deceased and you meet the standard New Zealand criteria, and:

    • you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply
    • you have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand by Immigration New Zealand or you have New Zealand citizenship
    • you are responsible for paying the funeral costs
    • there are insufficient assets and or income to meet the costs.

    Can I receive extra assistance?

    There are a number of supplementary benefits available in New Zealand. You may qualify for these depending on your circumstances.

    Accommodation Supplement

    The Accommodation Supplement helps with paying rent or board, or owning a home. The rate depends on the area you reside in and your accommodation costs.

    Disability Allowance

    If you have a disability you may be able to receive a Disability Allowance to help towards any extra costs such as regular doctor visits, medicines, extra clothes, food or travel.

    Family Tax Credit (formerly Family Support)

    If you care for dependent children, you may be able to receive Family Tax Credit. This depends on any other income you receive.

    Community Services Card and Super Gold Card

    If you reside in New Zealand and receive a benefit you may be entitled to a Community Services Card to help with health costs.

    If you are returning to New Zealand temporarily and you meet the entitlement criteria, you may be able to get a Temporary Community Services Card.

    If you reside in New Zealand and are 65 years or over, or under 65 and receiving a Veteran's Pension, or you have been included in your partners New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension, you will be eligible for a Super Gold Card. It gives access to discounts from a wide range of businesses nationwide and facilitates easy access to government entitlements and local authority services and concessions.

    Super Gold Cards are only available to people who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

    For more information see:

    How do I apply for New Zealand benefits and pensions?

    You should apply at a Work and Income office. To find out more, call Work and Income. See below for contact details.

    When you make an application for a benefit or pension in New Zealand, you need:

    • proof of your identity (passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate or drivers' licence)
    • your bank account details so that payments can be made to you (bank book, bank statement or deposit slip)
    • any other information that you think will be helpful.

    How much will I be paid?

    As a general rule, the amount you are paid is about equal to the New Zealand benefit or pension you would be paid if you had resided all your life in New Zealand.

    Work and Income decides how much you will be paid based on certain criteria. Any benefit or pension similar to a New Zealand benefit or pension from another country including Greece is usually deducted from your New Zealand payment.

    Other income you have may affect the amount paid to you if you are applying for an income-tested benefit.

    How is this done?

    Your Greek benefit or pension is paid directly from Greece to your bank account.

    Your Greek benefit or pension is converted each month to New Zealand dollars using an average of the previous month's exchange rates. This amount is directly deducted from your New Zealand benefit or pension.

    This means the payments you receive from Greece and New Zealand will change each month due to fluctuations in exchange rates.

    Each month Work and Income will send you a letter explaining how your New Zealand benefit or pension payment rate was worked out. If you don't want to receive these, please let us know.

    Note: The rate of Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind), Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers, New Zealand Superannuation (where a non-qualified partner has been included), and Veteran's Pension paid to those under 65 (and where a non-qualified partner has been included) depends on any other income you have.

    How are payments made from Greece?

    For information on how payments are made from Greece contact the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA). See below for contact details.

    What tax will I have to pay?

    You may have to pay New Zealand tax on your Greek benefit or pension if you receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension.

    This is regardless of whether your Greek benefit or pension is paid into a New Zealand or Greek bank account.

    Make sure you keep copies of all your banking records, as these may show your gross Greek pension payments required for tax purposes.

    We recommend you discuss your tax liabilities with Inland Revenue (New Zealand).

    When I may not have to pay tax

    You may not have to pay tax on your Greek benefit or pension in New Zealand, if you are paid a New Zealand benefit other than New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension.

    This is because your gross Greek benefit or pension is directly deducted from your net New Zealand entitlement.

    We recommend you discuss your tax liabilities with Inland Revenue (New Zealand).

    What happens to my New Zealand benefit or pension if I leave New Zealand?

    If you leave New Zealand temporarily, you must advise Work and Income. You may continue to receive your benefit or pension

    but it may be paid at a different rate or not be paid at all depending on the length of time you are away and the country you are in.

    Note: If you are receiving New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension and you only intend to travel overseas temporarily, please refer to the "Retired and Going Overseas" brochure. If you are receiving any other benefit, please refer to the "Are You Going Overseas" brochure.

    If you move to another country, you may be able to continue to receive your New Zealand benefit or pension depending on what type of benefit or pension you are receiving and which country you move to.

    Advise Work and Income of your plans so there's less chance that you will be overpaid and required to make repayments later.

    Carrying out full-time voluntary humanitarian work

    If you go overseas temporarily to do full-time voluntary humanitarian work, you may be able to receive your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension for up to 156 weeks. You need to check with Work and Income before you go.

    What happens to my New Zealand benefit or pension if I return to Greece?

    If you return to Greece temporarily you must advise Work and Income. You may continue to receive your benefit or pension depending on the length of time you are away.

    If you move back to Greece, your benefit or pension may be suspended or cancelled, depending on what type of benefit or pension you are receiving and the length of time you are away. In certain cases, you can take your New Zealand payment with you, but the rate may change.

    Advise Work and Income of your plans so there's less chance that you will be overpaid and required to make repayments later.

    For more information about how leaving New Zealand may affect your benefit or pension payment, refer to

  • Legislation

    A copy of the Social Welfare (Reciprocity with the Hellenic Republic) Order 1993 (the Agreement) can be found here on the New Zealand Legislation website:

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    If my partner is under 65 and is included in my New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension and we move to Greece, is my rate affected?

    Yes. New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension payments into Greece do not include payments for partners under 65.

    Will I continue to receive extra assistance from New Zealand (in addition to my benefit or pension) if I move to Greece?

    No. Extra assistance (Accommodation Supplement, Disability Allowance and Family Tax Credit (formerly Family Support)) is only paid to people residing in New Zealand.

    Who decides how much I will be paid?

    The Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) in Greece decide who can receive a Greek benefit or pension and how much will be paid. Work and Income in New Zealand decides who can receive a New Zealand benefit or pension and how much will be paid.

    What happens to the information I provide Work and Income?

    Any application forms you complete for New Zealand benefits or pensions may be compared with information held by the Social Security Institute (IKA), the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) or Work and Income. Work and Income checks your identity and residency status.

    Work and Income may compare information with Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Corrections, New Zealand Customs Service, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Accident Compensation Corporation, Kāinga Ora (used to be Housing New Zealand), and Immigration New Zealand. Work and Income may pass this information on to the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA) as well.

    In certain circumstances, Work and Income may approach other governments from whom you may be able to receive a similar benefit or pension.

    Under the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993, you have the right to request all information we hold about you and corrections to that information.

    What happens if I'm in New Zealand and my Greek benefit or pension is higher than my New Zealand benefit or pension?

    You will be paid your full Greek benefit or pension but not a New Zealand benefit or pension.

    If your partner is paid a New Zealand benefit or pension, any excess from your Greek pension will be deducted from their New Zealand benefit or pension.

    I'm leaving New Zealand to reside in Greece, but would like to travel first. How is my benefit or pension affected?

    If you go directly from New Zealand to Greece, your payments may continue. However, if you decide to travel first, your payments may stop from the time you leave New Zealand until you begin to reside in Greece.

    Please discuss your situation with Senior Services International before you leave.

    If you want to travel before beginning to reside in Greece you may, depending on the amount of time you have spent in New Zealand, be entitled to receive up to 100% of your payments of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension. Once you begin to reside in Greece, you will need to apply under the Agreement so that payment of your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension can continue. You can only use this option if you are entitled to receive, or are receiving New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension before departing from New Zealand.

    For more information about how leaving New Zealand may affect your benefit or pension payment, refer to

    Can I receive back-dated payments for New Zealand benefits or pensions?

    No. You will be paid from the date that Work and Income receives your application or the date of entitlement - whichever is later.

    If you qualify for an Supported Living Payment (health condition, injury, disability or totally blind) or the Sole Parent Support for widows and widowers, there may be a stand-down period. Payment begins after that period.

    Can I choose not to apply for a Greek benefit or pension or a benefit or pension from another country if I am paid a New Zealand benefit or pension?

    No. You are legally required to apply for any overseas benefit or pension that you may be entitled to.

    I have been travelling through Greece for more than 26 weeks while receiving payment of New Zealand Superannuation overseas. I had the intention of returning to New Zealand at the end of my travels but have now decided to reside in Greece, what should I do?

    If you begin to reside in Greece you will need to apply for payment to be made under the Agreement. Please contact us immediately to make sure you continue to receive your full and correct entitlement. We will then let you know what you need to do.

    I have been residing in Greece and am currently receiving payments of New Zealand Superannuation from Senior Services International. I have decided that I would like to travel overseas for a year, can I receive my New Zealand Superannuation while I do this?

    The Agreement only allows you to be paid New Zealand Superannuation if you continue to reside in Greece. If you intend to travel outside of Greece for any period, you will only be entitled to New Zealand Superannuation during your absence if you remain resident in Greece.

    Please contact Senior Services International to discuss this further.

  • Contacts

    For Greece contact details go to our overseas pensions agency contact details page.

    If you write to the Social Security Institute (IKA) or the Agricultural Insurance Association (OGA), you should include:

    • your full name, full address and date of birth
    • a list of all the countries you have resided in
    • your Greek reference number.

    For New Zealand Senior Services contact details go to the Getting in touch with us page on the Ministry of Social Development website.

linksContact us

Fore more information, please contact our International Services Team