Details of New Social Security Arrangements with NZ
The new social security arrangements between Australia and New Zealand provide a more stable, durable and affordable underpinning for the free trans-Tasman flow of people.
The changes will not affect New Zealand citizens who are already living in Australia. They will be able to access the full range of social security and other benefits. These people will automatically retain current rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents of Australia. We recognise that these people have already made Australia their home and want to ensure they are not unfairly disadvantaged by the new arrangements.
New Zealanders who move here in the future will find that the new social security agreement, covering pensions for people who are aged and support for people who become disabled after moving here, is similar to our agreements with other countries. Both countries will share financial responsibility for these pensions, based on the proportion of working life residence spent in each country.
New Zealanders who seek to move here in future will only be able to access the full range of income support payments and employment assistance if they become permanent residents of Australia – by successfully applying for a permanent residence visa.
New Zealanders in Australia will still be able to apply for a range of payments, including Family Tax Benefit A and B (including associated rent assistance), Maternity Allowance, Maternity Immunisation Allowance, Double Orphan pension and Child Care Benefit. They will have access to Low Income Health Care Cards and Seniors Health Care Card and will be able to use Medicare and public hospital services. If they are unemployed, they will still be able to access assistance in getting a job.
We will also introduce legislation to provide short-term assistance for New Zealanders who come here as temporary residents, live and work here for ten years, then fall into hardship.
Generous transition arrangements have been developed for New Zealand citizens not in Australia on 26 February 2001:
[doc_list]New Zealanders who are residing here or have lived here for a total of one year out of the last two, are not in Australia today but want to resume living here, can do so with rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
Those who had decided to move here when the changes were announced may still be eligible for permanent residence under the old arrangements, provided they take up residence within three months from today. They will then have three years from today in which to apply to Centrelink for a certificate of residence status that, if granted, will give them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
To protect New Zealanders who are seconded to work overseas, those unable to be in Australia by 26 May 2001, but who can demonstrate that they meet the residence requirements under social security law on 26 February 2001 (which includes an assessment of assets and relationships in Australia), have 12 months from today in which to return to Australia and apply to Centrelink for a certificate of residence status that, if granted, will give them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.
New Zealanders who are currently receiving a pension or benefit from Australia, but who are temporarily overseas under the short-term portability provisions of the Social Security Act, will be able to return and resume living here as long as they return to Australia within the portability period – they will be granted a certificate of residence status giving them rights and privileges as if they are permanent residents.[/doc_list]
A new social security Agreement will commence from 1 July 2002. The new Agreement will cover age pension, disability support pension and carer payment. Until the new Agreement commences, New Zealanders will be able to apply for any payment that they are eligible for under the current Agreement (age pension, disability support pension, parenting payment and partner allowance) without first gaining permanent residence.
Those who are receiving payments under the old agreement will have their eligibility preserved. Some payments covered by the old agreement will not be covered under the new agreement (some forms of disability and single parenting payment). However people will still be able to apply under the current agreement after 26 February 2001 to receive these payments without first obtaining permanent residence until the new agreement comes into force (likely July 2002). People receiving payment under the current agreement when it terminates will continue to be paid until they cease being eligible for that payment. However once they drop off payment they may need to acquire permanent residence in order the regain access to payments, unless the payment applied for is included in the scope of the new agreement.
Details of the changes are outlined in an information booklet available at Centrelink Offices.
All Australian employers pay a 9% superannuation contribution on behalf of their employees. New Zealanders cannot get access to these contributions until they are 55 years old. If they return to New Zealand permanently after reaching the age of 55 they can have their contributions paid into a New Zealand bank account. For further information contact the Australian Taxation Office.
In New Zealand, both employer-funded schemes and government assistance for older people are described as ‘superannuation’. In Australia, ‘superannuation’ refers only to employer-funded schemes. For more information on Australian government assistance for older people see the ‘Social Security Agreement’ section below.
Old Age Pension
New Zealanders who are 65 or older and live in Australia may be eligible for both an Australian age pension and NZ superannuation, depending on the amount of their working life they spent in each country.
Australian age pensions are income and asset tested, so any income or assets a New Zealander has will affect the amount of Australian age pension payable. In addition, the rate of New Zealand Superannuation payable in Australia cannot exceed the amount of Australian Age Pension that would be payable if the New Zealander was entitled to receive an Australian Age Pension but was not entitled to receive New Zealand Superannuation. This means that where a New Zealander cannot receive the Australian Age Pension because their income and assets exceed the limits, that person cannot receive New Zealand Superannuation in Australia.
To qualify for a pension, a New Zealander must have been resident in either Australia or New Zealand for at last 10 years of their working life (between the ages of 20 and 65). To apply for a pension, a New Zealander must be able to provide proof of their identity (see ‘Proof of Identity‘ section of the Centrelink website) and their Australian residence (eg tax records). For further information contactCentrelink.
Disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may be eligible to receive both a Disability Support Pension in Australia, and an Invalids (Severely Disabled) Benefit from New Zealand, depending on the amount of time the person has been resident in each country. To qualify for an Australian disability support pension and an Invalids (Severely Disabled) Benefit a New Zealander must be severely disabled and unable to work for more than 8 hours per week. For further information contactCentrelink.
If a New Zealander is eligible to receive the Australian pension, then Centrelink will tell them to also apply for a New Zealand benefit. If a person is not eligible for an Australian disability pension, then they are probably not eligible for a New Zealand benefit.
Carers of disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may also claim an Australian Carers Payment, provided they are the partner of a person who qualifies for the Australian Disability Support pension.
Carers of disabled New Zealanders living in Australia may also claim an Australian Carers Payment, provided they are the partner of a person who qualifies for the Australian Disability Support pension. Parents who are non-protected visa holders and are carers of a disabled child are not eligible for the Carers Payment.
New Zealand Veterans living in Australia are able to access a New Zealand War Disablement Pension for any disabilities that are attributable to, or were aggravated by, their war service. They are also entitled to free medical care for those disabilities. New Zealand veterans can also access assistance through the Veterans Affairs New Zealand Case Management service.
New Zealand veterans may also be entitled to an income support pension from the Australian Government. For further information contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand. The Welfare Officer of the local Returned Service League sub branch may also be able to assist.
Other Social Security Benefits
New Zealanders living in Australia may be able to claim other social security benefits including the Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity payment, Rent assistance, a low income Health Card, Parenting Payment and Commonwealth Senior’s Health Care Card. For further information contact Centrelink.
New Zealand Government offices in Australia have no funds to assist New Zealanders in financial difficulty. New Zealand agencies such as Work and Income NZ are unable to pay emergency benefits to assist people outside New Zealand