This raises the issue of mobility of pensions, and it is a remarkably complex one.TREND: Retirees move overseas.There is an interesting trend developing among retirees; they are increasingly on the move internationally, not only for holidays but to live overseas or for extended periods. Better health and increased longevity for retirees are factors in this trend, as well as the desire to be close to children and grandchildren living overseas.

This raises the issue of mobility of pensions, and it is a remarkably complex one. Eligibility for a pension while overseas depends on how long and where you are going.

There is no problem if you are intending to be away from New Zealand for six months or less, although it is a good idea to let Work and Income know. If you are travelling for more than six months with the intention of returning, you will need to make an application to receive your pension while you are away. If you have lived in New Zealand continuously between the ages of 20 and 65, you should receive the full amount of your pension and for lesser periods you will be paid a proportionate amount. For those intending to live overseas, arrangements will depend on where you are going.

New Zealand has Social Security Agreements with several countries under which people moving between those countries are entitled to benefits and pensions. If you go to Australia you will be able to receive NZ Superannuation for six months during which you will need to apply for an Australian Age Pension. This pension is income and asset tested and you may therefore receive less than the rate for NZ Superannuation. Because of the complexity, it pays to do your homework before you set off.


* Liz Koh is an authorised financial adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free, call 0800 273 847. For free e-books see and