Upcoming changes to NZ Super for couples

11

Jun

Since 2001, New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) has become a popular pension option for retired Kiwi couples. However, couples looking to apply for NZ Super in the near future or are already receiving payments need to be aware of the upcoming changes scheduled to be introduced on 9 November 2020. It is important to be prepared for the changes that will be passed into legislation at the end of the year and be wary of how they may affect you.

What is NZ Super?

NZ Super is the government pension paid to Kiwis over the age of 65 years is paid to individuals based on the Government’s payment level set every year on 1 April. The rates are reviewed and adjusted annually to take into account any increases in the cost of living, average wages and overall economic circumstances.

The current after-tax NZ Super rate is split into three different categories for couples:

  • Couples with two qualified individuals: paid at $652.04 each, after tax per fortnight.
  • Couples with one qualified individual and a non-qualified individual included: paid at $619.76 each, after tax per fortnight.
  • Couples with one qualified individual and a non-qualified individual who are not included: paid at $652.04 after tax per fortnight.

The proposed changes will be targeting couples with one qualified individual and a non-qualified individual included in the payment scheme.

What are the proposed changes?

The changes aim to simplify NZ Super by:

  • closing the option to include non-qualifying partners in payments (partners will be directed to apply for another assistance scheme),
  • changing how Work and Income makes overseas pension deductions,
  • changing the residency criteria to include time spent working for recognised New Zealand charities overseas, and
  • people living in mobile homes located outside of caravan parks will be eligible for the living alone rate.

Note that in relation to closing the option to include non-qualifying partners in payments, partners registered before 9 November will still be included in your payments unless circumstances (such as income increasing to above the cut-off point) change. You can also still apply to include a non-qualifying partner in your NZ Super before 9 November 2020 to receive NZ Super payments. Current eligibility requirements have not changed.


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