Who's eligible for NZ Super?
To be eligible for NZ Super, you need to be aged 65 or over and be a legal resident of New Zealand. You can get NZ Super even if you’re still working.
Currently you need to have lived here for 10 years since age 20. Starting in July 2024, however, this residency requirement is gradually increasing to 20 years by July 2042.
You'll need to have lived in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau (or a combination of these) for 20 years since age 20, with 5 of those years from age 50 or older.
What does it mean to 'have lived in New Zealand'?
To have lived in New Zealand means you were both a resident and physically present in the country at the same time.
What ‘resident’ means
Being resident means you permanently made your home in New Zealand for the required number of years.
For example, if someone usually lives overseas, but from time to time visits New Zealand, those visits do not count as time in which they are resident and present, because they are not permanently making their home here.
What ‘physically present’ means
You will need to be physically in New Zealand for the required number of years. If you left, you weren't physically present in New Zealand for that time period.
For example, if someone usually lives in New Zealand but takes overseas holidays, those holidays do not count as time in which they are resident and present (even if they are employed and paying tax in New Zealand), because they are not physically here.
Here's more information on the change to the residency requirement.
Here's more information about NZ Super eligibility.
It’s important to remember that NZ Super may be different in years to come in terms of who gets it and when.
Overseas pensions can affect NZ Super
If you get a pension from an overseas government, your NZ Super payments may be reduced by the amount you receive from overseas.
For more information call Work and Income on 0800 777 227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much is NZ Super?
The level of NZ Super payments is set by the government each year. The rates are reviewed and adjusted to take into account any increases in the cost of living (inflation) and average wages.
The after-tax NZ Super rate for couples (who both qualify) is based on 66% of the ‘average ordinary time wage’ after tax. For single people, the after-tax NZ superannuation rate is around 40% of that average wage.
NZ Super is paid fortnightly.
Here are the current NZ Super rates.
Will NZ Super be enough to live on?
NZ Super is generous by international standards, but it only goes so far. Many of us will have a gap between what it provides and the retirement lifestyle that we’re hoping to achieve.
To understand how much your gap might be, you can plug your numbers into our retirement calculator.
How to apply for NZ Super
If you're eligible, you can apply for NZ Super three months before you turn 65. There’s a form on the Work and Income website, or Work and Income can be reached on 0800 552 002.
Can you still get NZ Super if you’re heading overseas?
Probably. Being away from New Zealand for less than 26 weeks is generally fine. If it’s more than that, or you’re moving away permanently, the amount you receive could be less than you would get if you stayed in New Zealand, and will depend on which country you are in.
You should consider taking advice from Work and Income’s International Services before making decisions, particularly if NZ Super is a big part of your retirement income.
For more details on receiving NZ Super while travelling or moving overseas, see this Te Ara Ahunga Ora document and the Work and Income website.