Kiwi Coming Home

Question

Thank you for writing in non-confusing terms on the eligibility for NZ Superannuation, in your Money column in the Weekend Sun recently.

Could you please give me some guidance on my eligibility:

  • Born and lived in New Zealand until aged 36 years;
  • Moved to Australia where I lived for 34 years;
  • Returned to NZ to live over 2 years ago,
  • aged 70 years and divorced

Income:
          Australian Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (employer)
          Personal Pension Plan (private – Australia)
          Australian share Dividends & NZ Interest

Additionally, I was eligible for part aged pension of approx $3,900 annually, with associated benefits - mainly health.

My income in New Zealand in 2005 was $14,100.

I would feel justified in receiving some NZ Superannuation but would I be income or asset tested?

Despite the increase in tax, cost of housing and living, I am very happy in New Zealand.

Answer

Unfortunately you do not qualify on the second leg of the residency test.  For you to receive NZ Super you would have needed to be resident in NZ for a total of 10 years since age 20 (which you do cover) BUT  five of those years since age 50 which you do miss out on.

There is little option but to wait the next three years, or less now. When you do make that five year point you are able to qualify without any asset or income testing.

That said, there is provision for some wriggle room by WINZ with regard  recognising that you have been in Australia (and a short list of other qualifying countries) and they MAY grant you a full benefit upon application – worth a try.

You may also qualify for the ‘living alone’ benefit which is an additional untested ‘top up’.

The Australian shares you hold will be costing you a little in forgone ‘franking credits’ as they provide a dividend. These credits are not available to New Zealand investors (which is really dumb). Maybe you could make some change to these to your advantage.

 

Original Article published October 2006

 

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