Retirement Life
19 June 2024

Don’t have a ‘super’ holiday

The winter months are officially upon us – the season of short days, white crunchy grass, dragon’s breath…and the sudden desire to decamp to warmer climes to wait it out.


Practicalities aside, retirement is the optimal time of life to realise those dreams of living out long stints abroad, particularly if you have children or grandchildren who’ve permanently set up camp overseas.  

Don’t get cut off

However, it’s crucial budding senior backpackers are mindful of the eligibility criteria for NZ Superannuation – if you stay away too long, you might be cut off.


If you currently receive NZ Super, you’ll continue receiving payments as long as:

  • you intend to travel overseas for less than 26 weeks;
  • you intend to live primarily in New Zealand;
  • you consider New Zealand to be your home.


If you return as planned within 26 weeks, there’s no need to officially register your absence with authorities.


If you’re away longer than planned

If you’d planned to return within 26 weeks, but are inadvertently delayed – due to airline issues, bereavement or a sudden illness or injury, for instance – you can apply to keep your NZ Super payments going. If you don’t apply, or don’t meet the criteria, you might have to repay the money you received while overseas, including for the initial 26 weeks.


Calculate what you could draw in retirement.

If you’re planning a longer-term stint

If you’re planning to be away for longer than 26 weeks, you might still be eligible to receive some or all of your NZ Super payments. But you must apply at least four to six weeks before you leave.


The amount of NZ Super, if any, you can get depends on the country you’ll be residing in and how much time you lived in NZ between the ages of 20 and 65.


  • Australia: You can receive some or all of your NZ Super payments for up to 26 weeks if you’re in Australia. During this period you can apply for the Australian Age Pension – but it’s important to note that this is means and asset-tested.


  • Pacific countries: We have special arrangements with 22 Pacific countries, which means you can continue receiving NZ Super if you live in one of these for longer than 52 weeks. You must be living in NZ when you apply (unless you’re living in the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau).


  • United Kingdom: You cannot receive NZ Super, or any other NZ benefits, if you’re living in the UK. However, you might be eligible for a UK benefit or pension.


  • Canada, Denmark, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Jersey & Guernsey, and The Netherlands: We have arrangements in place with these countries, but how much, if any, NZ Super you’ll be entitled to depends on how long you’ve lived in NZ since the age of 20.


  • All other countries: You might still be able to receive NZ Super if you’re spending time in a country which we don’t have social security agreements or special arrangements with. Again, this will depend on how long you’ve lived in NZ between the ages of 20 and 65.


Different rules for different benefits

If you’re getting other payments or benefits from the Ministry of Social Development, you can only get these for up to 28 days while you’re overseas.

These may include:

  • Winter Energy Payment
  • Accommodation Supplement
  • Disability Allowance
  • Temporary Additional Support.


More information

This article is intended to provide general information. If you’re thinking of spending long stints overseas and are unsure what this means for your NZ Super payments, your best bet is to contact:



Alternatively, visit Work and Income’s website page on travelling overseas.


Project your retirement income.

Photo of Vanessa Glennie
Written by:

Vanessa Glennie

Vanessa is Head of Communications at Lifetime Retirement Income. She’s an experienced investment writer, having spent more than a decade writing about financial markets in the global fund management industry.

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