International social security agreements are contained in the SS(IntAgree)Act. They change the basic provisions of social security law. Each international social security agreement has its own portability rules for the payments it covers. Age, DSP, WP, WidB, CP, and pension PPS are portable according to the coverage specified in the respective agreement.
Payments paid under the former UK Agreement are only portable for temporary absences for up to 12 months to any country, including New Zealand. However, if a person remains in New Zealand for more than 26 weeks, their rate will be affected by the rate provision of the New Zealand Agreement.
Portability under agreements is specified in the individual agreement. Generally (except for New Zealand), all payments covered under the scope of the agreement are portable at least to the agreement country, and often to third countries. Many agreements specify that portability to third countries is determined by the SSAct. This means that the rules in SSAct section 1217 apply as if the agreement country were Australia.
Example: WP to a non-entitled person will only be portable to a third country for 6 weeks.
Agreement pensioners governed by these rules (where it refers to the Australian legislation) are saved under the old rules (for example, 12 months portability) if they were in a third country immediately before 20 September 2000.
Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 1 United Kingdom - Agreement on social security between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Schedule 3 New Zealand - Agreement on social security between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand
SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period
Policy reference: SS Guide 10.2 Agreement with New Zealand 2002
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013