Paying clients stranded overseas

We're working hard to make sure clients who are out of the country and are unable to return because of the COVID-19 pandemic are financially supported.

When you leave New Zealand temporarily some payments stop straight away, some are paid for up to 28 days, and New Zealand Super and Veteran's Pension is paid for up to 26 weeks.

Left New Zealand before 26 March 2020

Under a COVID-19 Special Assistance Programme we’re able to pay you while you’re stranded overseas.

This programme will end on 27 April 2021. If you’re not back in New Zealand before this date your payments will stop.

Changes are also being made to NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension payments which may affect your payments.

Please register on SafeTravel to access up-to-date travel advice.

  • What's happening to payments during this time

    This special assistance programme covers most types of payments including:

    Pensions

    • NZ Superannuation
    • Veteran's Pension

    Main benefits

    • Jobseeker Support
    • Sole Parent Support
    • Supported Living Payment
    • Youth Payment
    • Young Parent Payment
    • Emergency Benefit (includes Emergency Maintenance Allowance)

    Extra help payments

    • Accommodation Supplement
    • Child Disability Allowance
    • Disability Allowance
    • Family Tax Credit (including Best Start Tax Credit)
    • Orphan's Benefit
    • Special Benefit
    • Special Disability Allowance
    • Temporary Accommodation Assistance
    • Temporary Additional Support
    • Transitional Assistance Payment
    • Transitional Subsidy
    • Unsupported Child's Benefit
    • Winter Energy Payment (from 1 May for people receiving a main benefit or pension, unless they have opted out).

    These payments can’t be paid under the special assistance programme:

    • Jobseeker Support Student Hardship
    • Childcare Assistance, Early Learning Payment, Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment.
  • Some payments will be continued

    If you left the country before 26 March and were still receiving one of the following payments on 20 April 2020, we're continuing to pay you while you're stranded overseas or until the end of the programme:

    • NZ Superannuation
    • Veteran's Pension
    • Jobseeker Support
    • Sole Parent Support
    • Supported Living Payment
    • Youth Payment
    • Young Parent Payment
    • Emergency Benefit (includes Emergency Maintenance Allowance).

    You're only eligible if you're stranded overseas and you intend to return as soon as travel is available. You don't need to do anything except let us know if you're not intending to return to New Zealand or your circumstances change.

    If you left New Zealand before 26 March 2020 and were still receiving any of the other types of payments covered under this programme, you'll need to contact us to have them continued. Please complete this form to contact us.

  • Some payments may have already stopped

    If you left New Zealand before 26 March and your payments have stopped, we may be able to re-start them if you intend to return to New Zealand as soon as possible, and are still entitled to these payments.

    For example:

    • if you were getting an Accommodation Supplement and you still have accommodation costs in New Zealand, we can re-start your payment.
    • if you were getting Jobseeker Support and you haven't been in full-time employment since leaving New Zealand and would be looking for work if you were at home, we can re-start your payment.

    Please complete this form to contact us about restarting your payments.

  • Not currently a client with us

    If you're a New Zealander stranded overseas but were not receiving payments from us when you left New Zealand, you're not eligible for help from us. You should take steps to ensure your safety in place, and contact your travel insurer, bank, family and friends in the first instance if you're facing financial difficulties.

    If you require additional assistance, please get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You may also wish to register on their Safe Travel website.

  • Citizens and residents living in Australia

    All New Zealand citizens and permanent residents living in Australia, who meet the Australian Government's eligibility criteria, will now be able to access up to A$20,000 of their Australian super.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has details on how to apply.