State Pensions in New Zealand
Will I be eligible for a Government Pension in New Zealand?
The state pension in New Zealand is known as New Zealand Superannuation or more colloquially as National Super. You will be eligible if you:
- are 65 years of age or over and
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and
- have lived in New Zealand for a certain amount of time and
- normally live here when you apply
You need to have lived in New Zealand for:
- a total of 10 years since you turned 20 and
- five of those years to be since you turned 50, unless you spent some of that time overseas
What happens to my UK State Pension?
The UK state retirement pension is normally payable in New Zealand, but you will not get annual increases in the benefit once you have ceased to be ordinarily resident in the UK. This means that your pension will stay at the same rate as when you left the UK, or when you first qualified for the pension if you were already living in New Zealand at the time.
If you are eligible for New Zealand Superannuation, your UK state pension will be paid directly to the NZ Government. If you are not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation, you will receive your UK state pension directly. You need to declare this income on your tax return in New Zealand.
You are generally not eligible for special allowances, such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, when you are living in New Zealand.
To find out how much UK state pension you are eligible for, you can apply for a State Pension Forecast from the Department for Works and pensions. This will include information on your Basic State Pension, Additional State Pension (or SERPS), and Graduated Retirement Benefit. You need to complete form BR19, which is available at the following addresses:
The DSS website for pensions is:
Receiving UK Pensions Payments in New Zealand
If you are receiving UK pension income in New Zealand (whether from a personal, occupational or state pension), there are a couple of points to note:
- If you are eligible for New Zealand Superannuation, your UK state pension will be paid directly to the NZ Government
- If you are not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation, you will receive your UK state pension directly. You need to declare this income on your tax return in New Zealand
- You will be taxed on your income from personal and occupational pensions, unless you are a transitional resident
Currency exchange charges and exchange rate fluctuations can affect your income. Our foreign exchange partner NZ Forex has a good service for setting up regular pension payments from the UK to New Zealand. You’ll save money on the charges that a UK high street bank would make every month for setting up these payments. You’ll also get a competitive exchange rate on the funds you transfer, and you can even get an exchange rate locked in for up to two years, providing you with stability of income.
It might not be too late to transfer your personal and occupational pensions – most pensions can still be transferred once they are in draw-down, but not once an annuity has been purchased.
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