7.1.1.20 Summary of Portability under International Social Security Agreements

International social security agreements (1.1.A.120)

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.

For general information on portability for recipients going to New Zealand see 7.1.3.10 and 7.1.3.20.

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, Schedule 3 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

Last reviewed: 21 March 2016