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United Kingdom pensions paid in New Zealand
Common questions and answers about UK Pensions paid in New Zealand
Updated November 2020
This factsheet sets out the key elements of the UK State Pension scheme and the impact that UK State Pensions may have on your payments of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension. The information about UK State pensions should only be used as a guide. For more specific information about UK state Pensions please contact the Pension Service in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom (UK) has a state pension scheme. When you can get the state pension depends on when you'll reach the state pension age.
Go to the Gov.uk website to check when you will reach State Pension age:
As of 6 April 2016, the UK has a new system (the New State State Pension) but, whether a person is covered by the new system or the old system depends on their age.
If you are not already getting a State Pension, we need you to apply for this by filling in an application form. We will forward your application to The Pension Service in the UK. The Pension Service will decide whether you are entitled to a State Pension and will tell you what their decision is. This may take a few months.
You are required to apply for any overseas state pensions that you may be eligible for under sections 173-176 of the Social Security Act 2018. If you or your partner do not apply to receive any State Pension you may be eligible for, you risk losing your entitlement to a New Zealand benefit or pension.
This depends on how long you paid into the UK National Insurance scheme and how many National Insurance credits you may have for periods when you were not working. If you qualify for the State Pension, The Pension Service will advise you of the amount you will receive.
The amount of State Pension paid to pensioners living in New Zealand and some other countries is "frozen". This means that your State Pension is paid at the same rate as it was when you first became entitled to it, or at the rate you were being paid when you left the UK for New Zealand, if you were already receiving your UK pension on that date.
You can choose to have your State Pension paid every four weeks or every 13 weeks. If your UK pension is less than £5 per week, you will be paid every 52 weeks.
Further information on State Pensions can be obtained from:
If you are entitled to a State Pension or another UK state benefit, generally your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension payments will be reduced by the amount of that State Pension or state benefit.
Sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018 set out the requirement for this deduction and Article 15 of the Social Security Agreement between New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the Agreement) largely reflects this. This means that the treatment of UK pensions under the Agreement is generally consistent with the treatment of overseas pensions from other countries.
This ensures that all New Zealanders - regardless of whether they've lived overseas and are entitled to an overseas pension - get an equitable amount of state retirement pension. It would take you 35 years to become entitled to the full amount of UK pension, whereas it takes only 10 years of living in New Zealand before you become entitled to the full rate of New Zealand Superannuation. If you received a partial UK pension as well as full New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension you would receive more state retirement pension than lifelong New Zealand residents, who have contributed through their taxes to the funding of New Zealand Superannuation for a longer period of time.
Changes in New Zealand from 9 November 2020 mean any part of an overseas pension which has been gained from making voluntary contributions is not deducted from New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran's Pension or any other New Zealand main benefits. However the voluntary portion is treated as income for any other income tested benefits in New Zealand.
The State Pension does not affect the rate of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension in certain limited instances. You are able to receive both a State Pension and a New Zealand pension in full if you meet all of the following requirements:
- qualify for New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension without the assistance of the Agreement; and
- were a permanent resident of New Zealand on or before 1 January 1970; and
- on or before that date, made contributions to the UK National Insurance scheme while living in New Zealand
This provision is in Article 15(3) of the Agreement.
The amount paid depends on marital status and living arrangements. There are three basic rates: the married rate, the single sharing rate, and the single living alone rate. These three rates are not subject to an income or asset test.
From 9 November 2020, you’ll no longer be able to include a non-qualified partner in your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension payments. You can only continue getting this payment if you were already getting it before 9 November. This payment is income-tested.
Generally, superannuitants and veteran's pensioners who receive a State Pension receive a lower rate of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension. If your State Pension exceeds the amount of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension you would have received if this was your only pension source, then you will continue to receive only your State Pension amount.
You may be eligible for extra help such as a Disability Allowance for medical costs or an Accommodation Supplement for accommodation costs. We encourage you to check with Work and Income whether you are entitled to extra help.
Contracted-out pensions are regarded as private pensions which do not affect the rate of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension. However, contracted-out pensions will count as income for any income tested benefits such as Accommodation Supplement or Disability Allowance that you might receive.
For couples who are both qualified for New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension in their own right an overseas pension received by one partner cannot reduce the other partner’s New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension payments.
If one partner gets an overseas pension but does not get any payments from New Zealand, their overseas pension does not reduce their partner’s New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension payments.
There are two payment methods for getting a State Pension paid into New Zealand - the direct payment method or the special banking option. To discuss the most suitable option for you, please contact our International Services team.
Under the direct payment method you can choose to have your State Pension paid directly into your own bank account. Your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension is reduced by the amount of your State Pension. The two pensions together add up to an amount that is similar to the full rate of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension.
Under the special banking option, you can choose to have your State Pension paid into a special bank account that only Work and Income and the bank can access. In return, you get the full amount of New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension.
Yes, people who have lived in other countries and who are also eligible for overseas state pensions covered by sections 187-191 of the Social Security Act 2018 will have their New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's Pension reduced in the same way.
Any voluntary portion of the overseas pension is not deducted.
The rules around international agreements are complex. You should speak with us to clarify your own individual situation.
Please contact our International Services Team for more information