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New Zealand Superannuation – How to get it

New Zealand Superannuation (‘NZ Super’ or ‘pension’) is the government pension paid to Kiwis over the age of 65. Any eligible New Zealander receives NZ Super regardless of how much they earn through paid work, savings and investments, what other assets they own or what taxes they have paid.

Who can get NZ Super?

If you:

  • are 65 or over
  • live in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau when you apply
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20
  • have lived in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau (or a combination of these) for at least 5 years since you turned 50.

When we say ‘you live’ or ‘you’ve lived’, we mean you normally live in NZ, the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau and that’s where your home is.

You may qualify for NZ Super with less than 10 years residence if you have migrated to New Zealand from a country that New Zealand has a social security agreement with.

A Veteran’s Pension, paid at the same rates as NZ Super, may be available to those who have qualifying operational service (confirmed by Veterans’ Affairs) and who meet other criteria.

Contact Work and Income for more information (freephone 0800 552 002)

Note: You don’t have to be retired from work to get NZ Super as it’s not income tested.

When/How can you apply?

To avoid missing any payments apply to Work and Income about a month before turning 65. Internet users can download a form or apply online at MyMSD or you can call into Work and Income or phone for a form (freephone 0800 552 002). If you want assistance, you will need to make an appointment.

How much can you get?

NZ Super rates are updated every year on 1 April. The amount you receive depends on your circumstances and living arrangements, e.g. a single person living alone gets $822.30 (a fortnight after tax at ‘M’ tax code), (as at 1 April 2019). If you have paid work, you will still get NZ Super however it may affect your income tax rate. It is paid fortnightly on a Tuesday.

If you have a non-qualifying partner, e.g. a younger partner, they may be able to be included under special criteria. Single people or those considered to be single and living alone(includes those whose partner lives in residential care) may be eligible to receive the Living Alone rate of NZ Super.

The financial implications can be complex so talk to Work and Income.

Other information

Currently a visitor can stay with you for up to 13 weeks in any 26-week period without the rate of this payment being affected.

If you get ACC payments these are likely to impact on your NZ Super or Veteran’s Pensions; talk to ACC about this.

SuperGold Card – Your SuperGold Card will be sent to you automatically once you have been granted New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension.If you are not eligible for NZ Super, you are still able to get a SuperGold Card, if you’re:

  • 65 or over
  • living in NZ, and
  • intend to stay here.

You can also get a card if you’re:

  • under 65, and
  • included as the partner of someone who’s getting NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension.

The card gives access to a wide range of discounted services including free/discounted ‘off peak’ transport. If you also have a Community Services Card it is combined into the SuperGold Card (contact Work and Income for more information).

Order our Where from Here handbook that has more information about financial assistance. Click here to view the book for your region.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.