Most people think you have to be 65 to qualify for NZ Super. But there is a group of individuals who receive Super as 'non-qualified' recipients. A minority are over 65 and don't meet necessary residency qualifications but almost 12,000 are under sixty-five; 3,689 are under 60.
Generally the male turns 65 and can reject the single rate ($345.72 net weekly) for two married rates (2 x $273.82 net weekly or $547.64 combined). The decision to include or exclude lies with the Superannuitant. The effect is the government has to pay 58% more.
An OIA supplied the numbers at December 2014:
88 percent of non-qualifying spouses are female.
Here's the ethnicity breakdown:
It appears only partners in marriage or civil unions can receive the 'non-qualified' payment. That's borne out by the ethnicity breakdown. Maori have a low marriage rate.
At the same date there were 650,636 Superannuitants aged 65 and over. So just under 2 percent have a non-qualified spouse.
Annual payments to non-qualified spouses amount to $133 million.
Now that mightn't be a big deal against the total Super bill, but significant anomalies are occurring.
1/ For the purposes of an unemployment or sickness benefit, the law similarly recognises marriages and civil unions. However it also recognises de facto relationships. How long before under 65 year-old de facto partners of Superannuitants start pushing for Super payments?
2/ In the case of unemployment or disability, the rate for two partners is exactly half of the single rate. For non-qualifying partners of Superannuitants the payment is 79 percent of the single rate. How long before partners of unemployed or disabled beneficiaries under 65 start challenging on the basis of discrimination?
Beneficiary advocates are notoriously active so it surprises me that this hasn't already become an issue.
Perhaps most people aren't aware that under 65s can collect Super via their 65 or older husband (or more unusually, wife)?
Would appreciate hearing from readers whether they were aware of this. A simple 'yes' or 'no' would be fine.