Irish benefits and pensions paid in NZ

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

Common questions and answers

Updated November 2020

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

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

  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • State Pension (Transition)
  • Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

The Department of Social Protection decides who can receive an Irish benefit or pension and how much will be paid.

For more information about Irish benefits and pensions see:

How do I apply for an Irish benefit or pension?

If you have previously lived in Ireland, have made enough social insurance contributions and are not already getting an Irish 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 Department of Social Protection, Ireland which is the government office that administers Ireland's social security scheme.

Once you have submitted your application the Department of Social Protection will contact you directly to tell you their decision.

You need to provide:

  • two forms of identification (birth certificate or driver licence, marriage certificate)
  • bank account verification
  • any other information that you think may be helpful

If you are applying for an increase for your spouse or partner you will need to provide their birth certificate.

For more information contact:

Why do I need to apply for an Irish Benefit or Pension?

You and your spouse or partner are required, under sections 173-176 of the Social Security Act 2018, 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 Irish benefit or pension for which you may be eligible, you risk losing your entitlement to a New Zealand benefit or pension.

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

When you reside in New Zealand your Irish social insurance record and your New Zealand residence is taken into account to determine your entitlement to an Irish pension.

Amongst other criteria, you will need to have made sufficient social insurance contributions to qualify for the maximum rate of a benefit or pension. Sometimes you will be entitled to a reduced rate if you have made some but not all of the required social insurance contributions.

Your benefit or pension is not affected by any other income, savings, or pension you may have.

The Department of Social Protection decides whether you qualify for an Irish benefit or pension and how much you can be paid in New Zealand.

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

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

As a general rule, pension rates are increased at Ireland's budget time which normally happens once a year. However this is dependent on the economy at the time.

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

For those clients living in New Zealand your Irish benefit or pension is paid every four weeks.

Will my Irish 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 benefit or 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 Irish State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition), Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension, Invalidity Pension, Guardian's Payment (Contributory) and Bereavement Grant fit within the requirements in sections 187-191 because:

  • these benefits and pensions are part of the Irish social security scheme which provides Irish benefits and pensions for similar types of circumstances for which New Zealand benefits and pensions would be paid. For example, the Irish State Pension (Contributory) and New Zealand Superannuation both provide financial support in old age; and
  • Irish benefits and pensions are administered by the Department of Social Protection, an agency of the Irish government.

This means that if you are entitled to an Irish benefit or pension paid by the Department of Social Protection it will be deducted dollar for dollar from your New Zealand benefit or pension payments.

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

The only situation where the full amount of an Irish pension is not deducted from NZ Super and other New Zealand benefits is where any portion of the Irish pension has been earned from voluntary contributions. The voluntary portion is not deductible.

However if you travel or move to a country other than New Zealand or Ireland 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 Irish benefit or pension generally does not affect the rate of your New Zealand benefit or pension.

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

If your partner is getting a New Zealand benefit, such as Jobseeker Support or Supported Living Payment, any excess amount from your Irish benefit or pension will be deducted from your partner’s New Zealand benefit.

If your partner is getting NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension in their own right, your Irish benefit or pension does not affect their payments. Also, if one partner receives an overseas pension but does not receive NZ Super, Veteran's Pension or any other New Zealand benefit their overseas pension cannot be applied to reduce their partner’s NZ Super or Veteran's Pension payments.

If a person is included in their partner’s NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension as a non-qualified partner, the amount of Irish benefit or pension will be deducted from their payment, and the remaining NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension amount will be divided equally between the two of you.

Why can't I keep the full Irish 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 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 Irish benefit or 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 Irish benefit or pension in New Zealand?

You can choose to have your Irish benefit or pension paid by the Direct Payment Method or the Special Banking Option.

For more information, see:

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 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.

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Please contact our International Services Team for more information