Social Security Act 1964

  • not the latest version

Reprint as at 25 February 2012

Social Security Act 1964

Public Act1964 No 136
Date of assent4 December 1964
Commencementsee section 1(2)
  • Pursuant to section 2(3)(b) and (d) of the Social Security Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 106), every reference in this Act to the Commission should be read as a reference to the Director-General, and every reference to in its discretion should be read as a reference to in the Director-General's discretion.

  • Pursuant to section 5 of the Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act (No 2) 1993 (1993 No 149), references in this Act to guaranteed retirement income, national superannuation, guaranteed retirement income earner, or national superannuitant were replaced, respectively, for references to New Zealand superannuation or to a New Zealand superannuitant. Section 2(2) Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act (No 2) 1991 (1991 No 77) previously provided that every reference to guaranteed retirement income or guaranteed retirement income earner shall be read, respectively, as references to national superannuation or national superannuitant.


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Social Development.



1 Short Title and commencement

1A Purpose

1B Principles

Part 1
Monetary benefits

2 Administration [Repealed]

3 Interpretation

3A Delegation of powers by Minister [Repealed]


4 Social Security Department [Repealed]

5 Chief executive to comply with directions

6 Social Security Commission [Repealed]

7 Acting Commissioners [Repealed]

8 Commissioners, Acting Commissioners, and other officers to be appointed under State Services Act 1962 [Repealed]

9 Meetings of Commission [Repealed]

10 Delegation of Director-General's powers [Repealed]

10A Review of decisions

11 Power to obtain information

11A Power to obtain information for matching purposes

11B Code of conduct applying to obtaining information under section 11

11C Matters to be included in code of conduct

11D Application process for benefits

12 Investigation of claims and grant of benefits

Appeal Authority

12A Social Security Appeal Authority

12B Term of office of members

12C Extraordinary vacancies

12D Special Appeal Authorities

12E Deputies of members

12F Remuneration and travelling allowances

12G Services for Appeal Authority

12H Authority to have seal

12I Functions of Appeal Authority

12J Right of appeal

12K Procedure on appeal

12L Expenses payable to appellants

12M Hearing and determination of appeal

12N Sittings of Appeal Authority

12O Costs

12OA Costs incurred by Authority

12P Notice of decision

12Q Appeals to High Court on questions of law only

12R Appeals to Court of Appeal

12S Appeals to Supreme Court

National superannuation

13 National Superannuation [Repealed]

14 Residential qualifications for national superannuation [Repealed]

15 Rates of national superannuation [Repealed]

16 Special provisions in respect of married couples where one spouse not entitled to national superannuation [Repealed]

17 Commencement and payment of national superannuation [Repealed]

18 Termination of national superannuation on death of recipient [Repealed]

19 Special allowance for South African War veterans [Repealed]

20 Additional benefit for South African War veterans [Repealed]

Widows' benefits

21 Widows' benefits

22 Benefits to wives of mental patients [Repealed]

23 Benefits to deserted wives [Repealed]

24 Rates of widows' benefits

25 Special provisions as to benefits to deserted wives [Repealed]

26 Continuation of benefit to deserted wife after divorce [Repealed]

27 Continuation of benefit when benefit ceases to be payable in respect of children [Repealed]

Domestic purposes benefits

27A Interpretation

27B Domestic purposes benefits for solo parents

27BA Split custody

27C Domestic purposes benefits for women alone

27D Applicants for domestic purposes benefits for women alone to meet residential qualifications in section 74AA

27E Continuation of benefit when benefit ceases to be payable in respect of children [Repealed]

27F Special provisions as to maintenance [Repealed]

27G Domestic purposes benefits for care at home of sick or infirm

27H Rates of domestic purposes benefits

Contribution towards cost of domestic purposes benefits for solo parents

27I Interpretation [Repealed]

27J Maintenance order or agreement suspended while benefit is paid [Repealed]

27K Liable Parent to contribute towards cost of benefit and child supplement [Repealed]

27L Director-General to give liable parent notice of grant of benefit [Repealed]

27M Liable parent to notify Director General of gross earnings, etc [Repealed]

27N Director-General to assess contribution and notify liable parent [Repealed]

27O Notice of objection [Repealed]

27P Grounds on which objection may be made [Repealed]

27Q Procedure to be followed where objection received [Repealed]

27R Hearing of objection by Court [Repealed]

27S Findings of Court [Repealed]

27T Appeal from decisions of Courts [Repealed]

27U Proceedings not open to public [Repealed]

27V Restriction of publication of reports [Repealed]

27W Costs [Repealed]

27X Recovery of unpaid contributions [Repealed]

27Y Deduction notices [Repealed]

27Z Effect of deduction notices [Repealed]

27ZA Liability of employer [Repealed]

27ZB Protected earnings [Repealed]

27ZC Variation or discharge of deduction notice [Repealed]

27ZD Transaction fee [Repealed]

27ZE Wrongful treatment of employee [Repealed]

27ZF Extent to which deduction notices bind the Crown [Repealed]

27ZG Relief in cases of serious hardship [Repealed]

27ZH Review of contributions [Repealed]

27ZI Service of notices, etc, by Director-General [Repealed]

Orphans' benefits

28 Orphans' benefits

29 Unsupported child's benefit

29A Rates of orphan's benefit and unsupported child's benefit

30 Period for which orphan's benefit payable [Repealed]

31 Orphan's benefit and unsupported child's benefit to be used for benefit of child

Family benefits

32 Family benefits [Repealed]

33 Residential qualifications for family benefit [Repealed]

34 Rate of family benefits [Repealed]

35 Period for which family benefit payable [Repealed]

36 Advance payments of family benefit [Repealed]

37 Person to whom family benefit payable [Repealed]

38 Family benefit to be expended for maintenance of children [Repealed]

39 Payment of family benefit not to restrict right to maintenance, compensation, or damages [Repealed]

Child disability allowance

39A Child disability allowance

39B Rate of child disability allowance

39C Medical examination may be required

39D Child disability allowance not payable with other benefit or pension

39E Person to whom child disability allowance payable

Invalids' benefits

39F Purpose of invalid's benefit

40 Invalid's benefit

41 Residential qualifications for invalids' benefits [Repealed]

42 Rates of invalids' benefits

42A Obligations on spouse or partner of invalid's beneficiary

43 Subsidy on earnings of blind beneficiaries

44 Medical examination of invalids

44A Beneficiary receiving invalid's benefit may establish whether open employment is sustainable

45 Invalids' beneficiaries may be required to undertake activities [Repealed]

46 Refusal to undertake vocational training [Repealed]

Work capacity assessment

47 Procedure for assessment of capacity for work [Repealed]

48 Assessment of capacity for work [Repealed]

49 Content of assessment [Repealed]

50 Effect of assessment [Repealed]

51 Reassessment [Repealed]

52 Funeral grant on death of miner [Repealed]

53 Miners' widows' benefits [Repealed]


53A Right of appeal on medical grounds

Sickness benefits

54 Sickness benefit: standard eligibility requirements

54A Sickness benefit: grounds of hardship

54B Sickness benefit: medical examinations

54C Sickness benefit: payment [Repealed]

54D Rates of sickness benefit

54DA Sickness beneficiary may be required to comply with work test

54E Obligations of spouse or partner of sickness beneficiary

54F Transfer from community wage to sickness benefit on 1 July 2001

55 Rates of sickness benefits [Repealed]

56 Medical examination of applicants for sickness benefits [Repealed]

57 Period for which sickness benefit payable [Repealed]

Unemployment benefits

58 Unemployment benefits [Repealed]

59 Rates of unemployment benefits [Repealed]

59A Mandatory interview or work test for spouse [Repealed]

Young job seekers' allowances

59B Young job seekers' allowances [Repealed]

59C Rates of young job seekers' allowances [Repealed]

59D Spouse of young job seeker's allowance recipient [Repealed]

59E Period for which young job seeker's allowance payable [Repealed]

Young job seeker's allowances

60 Commencement of unemployment benefit, etc [Repealed]

Training benefits

60A Training benefits: purpose [Repealed]

60AA Training benefits: qualifications [Repealed]

60B Rates of training benefits [Repealed]

60C Period for which training benefit payable [Repealed]

60D Job search allowance [Repealed]

60E Rates of job search allowance [Repealed]

60F Independent youth benefits: basic qualifications

60FA Independent youth benefits: single persons

60FB Independent youth benefits: persons who are married, in civil union, or de facto relationship

60FC Independent youth benefits: persons enrolled in full-time course of secondary instruction

60FD Independent youth benefits: sickness, injury, or disability

60G Rates of independent youth benefit

60GAA Period for which independent youth benefit payable

60GAB Independent youth benefits: obligations

60GAC Department to explain obligations to beneficiaries

Further conditions of benefits

60GA Purposes of sections 60H to 60M [Repealed]

60H Voluntary unemployment or loss of employment through misconduct, etc

60HA Work preparation exercise

60HB Effect of failure to attend or participate in mandatory interview [Repealed]

60HC Beneficiaries to be work-tested [Repealed]

60HCA General duty of Director-General to ensure that work-tested beneficiaries aware of obligations [Repealed]

60HD Power of Director-General to grant exemption from mandatory interview or work test [Repealed]

60HE Persons exempted from mandatory interview or work test to notify change of circumstances [Repealed]

60HF Delay of work test obligation for existing beneficiaries [Repealed]

60I Effect of redundancy payments, etc, on entitlement to benefits [Repealed]

60J Failure to comply with work test [Repealed]

60JA Penalty for failure to attend or participate in mandatory interview or comply with work test [Repealed]

60JB Effect of recompliance with mandatory interview or work test [Repealed]

60JC Reduction of benefit or non-entitlement period to end if person ceases to be subject to mandatory interview or work-testing [Repealed]

60K Effect of undertaking employment [Repealed]

60KA Effect of participation in approved activities [Repealed]

60L Effect of sections 60H to 60J and section 60N on entitlement to supplementary benefits and on spouses [Repealed]

60M Community task force scheme [Repealed]

60N Effect of failure to participate in community task force project [Repealed]

60O Interpretation

60P Purpose of sections 60Q to 60Z

60Q Employment plans

60R Developing and reviewing employment plans

60S Beneficiary must demonstrate commitment to employment plan at review

60T Department must explain rights and obligations in relation to employment plans

60U Failure to comply with employment plan obligations

60V Procedure for determining whether failure is without good and sufficient reason

60W Failure without good and sufficient reasons

60X Procedure for imposing sanctions

60Y Sanctions for failure to comply with obligations in relation to employment plan

60Z Effect of compliance or agreement to comply

Emergency benefits

61 Chief executive may grant emergency benefit in cases of hardship

61A Obligations of spouse or partner of person granted emergency benefit

61B Special provisions in respect of additional benefits for dependent children [Repealed]

61C Special powers of Director-General in respect of maintenance

61CA Maintenance payable to Crown


61CB Payment of benefits during epidemic in New Zealand

61CC Granting of emergency benefits during epidemic in New Zealand

61CD During epidemic benefits may be granted without normal investigations

61CE Overseas epidemics affecting visitors to New Zealand

61CF Special assistance for visitors affected by overseas epidemics

61D Interpretation

61DA Restrictions on payment of funeral grants

61DB Payment of funeral grants where there is a surviving spouse or partner or children

61DC Payment of funeral grants where there is no surviving spouse or partner or children

61DD Children's funeral grants

61DE Method of making payments

61DF Method of making payments [Repealed]

61DG Applications for lump sum payments after death [Repealed]

Accommodation supplement

61DH Purpose of accommodation supplement

61E Interpretation

61EA Accommodation supplement

61EB Special rules for joint tenants who are married, in civil union, or de facto relationship

61EC Rates of accommodation supplement

61F Rates of accommodation benefit [Repealed]

61FA Rent rebate entitlement [Repealed]

61FB Rate of rebate [Repealed]

61FC Tenure protection allowance [Repealed]

61FD Rate of tenure protection allowance [Repealed]

Temporary additional support

61G Temporary additional support

Childcare assistance

61GA Childcare assistance

Alteration of rates of benefits

61H Rates of benefits, etc, may be increased by Order in Council

61HA Annual CPI adjustment of rates of certain benefits

61I Areas for accommodation supplement purposes may be altered by Order in Council

Miscellaneous provisions as to monetary benefits

62 Grant of benefit after death of applicant

63 Conjugal status for benefit purposes

63A Provisions relating to children who continue education

64 Mode of ascertaining income for benefit purposes

65 Adjustment of anomalies due to receipt of income subject to income tax [Repealed]

66 Exemption of income from friendly or like society

66A Special exemption for severe disablement

66B Redundancy and retirement payments not to be taken into account in determining rates of benefits

67 Exemption of income from domestic or nursing service [Repealed]

68 Exemption of income from former home property

68A Special provisions applying to insurance payments

69 Power to increase rates of benefits payable to parents of deceased members of the forces or mercantile marine

69A Telephone-rental concessions [Repealed]

69B Television-licence-fee concessions [Repealed]

69C Disability allowance

69D Transition to work allowance [Repealed]

69E Interpretation [Repealed]

69F Financial means assessments [Repealed]

69FA Financial means assessments for home-based disability support services

Overseas pensions

69G Reasonable steps to be taken to obtain overseas pension

69H Information on rate of overseas pension to be provided

69I Duty of chief executive to assist

70 Rate of benefits if overseas pension payable

70A Rates of benefits for sole parents may be reduced

70B Entitlement to benefits in cases of shared custody

71 Special provisions where compensation or damages recoverable by applicant

71A Deduction of weekly compensation from income-tested benefits

72 Limitation where applicant receiving another benefit or war pension

73 Limitation where applicant entitled to claim under Family Protection Act 1955

74 Limitation in certain other cases

74AA Residential requirements for certain benefits

74A Persons unlawfully resident or present in New Zealand

75 Beneficiaries in hospital

75A Beneficiaries in institutions under Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966

76 Forfeiture of benefit during detention in a prison

77 Effect of absence of beneficiary from New Zealand

78 Effect of absence of beneficiary from New Zealand on residential qualification

79 Persons liable for income tax on earnings while employed overseas deemed to be resident in New Zealand

80 Commencement of benefits

80AA Minister may allow back-dating of benefit where earlier failure to grant it based on error

80A Duty to advise change of circumstances affecting entitlement to benefit

80B Interpretation

80BA Calculation of stand down

80BB Delayed redundancy and retirement payments

80BC Seasonal workers made redundant after benefit commences

80BD Ending of benefits

80C Effect of sections 60H to 60M and section 80BA on entitlement to supplementary benefits and on spouses or partners

80D Benefit applications by claimants under Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001

81 Review of benefits

82 Payment of benefits

82A Duty to supply tax file number and consequence of failure to do so

83 Apportionment of benefit between spouses or partners

83A Tax on benefits

84 Benefits to be inalienable

84A Payment of benefit not to restrict right to maintenance

85 Termination of benefit on death of beneficiary [Repealed]

85A Payments that are debts due to the Crown

86 Recovery of payments made in excess of authorised rates

86A Deduction of benefit debts

86B Issue of deduction notice to State sector employer

86C Discharge of debt

86D Deduction notices issued on banks

86E Deductions held in trust

86F Offences in relation to deduction notices

86G Protected earnings

86H Variation or discharge of deduction notice

86I Penalty for late deductions

86J Notices

86K Validation of benefit payments and other payments in respect of certain children in care

Part 1A
Family care grants


86A Interpretation [Repealed]

86B Family care grants [Repealed]

86C Entitlement to family care grants [Repealed]

86D Rates of family care grants [Repealed]

86E Special family care grants [Repealed]

86F Rates of grants may be altered by Order in Council [Repealed]

86G Person to whom family care grant payable [Repealed]

86H Commencement of family care grants [Repealed]

86I Duration of family care grants [Repealed]

86J Review of grants [Repealed]

86K Cessation of family care grants [Repealed]

86L Renewal of family care grants [Repealed]

86M Duty to advise change of circumstances, etc, affecting entitlement to grant [Repealed]

86N Method of ascertaining income [Repealed]

86O Overpayments [Repealed]

86P Application to family care grants of certain provisions of Part 1 [Repealed]

Part 2
Unemployment benefit and work testing

87 Purposes of this Part [Repealed]

88 Overview of this Part [Repealed]

88A Interpretation

Unemployment benefit

89 Unemployment benefit: standard eligibility requirements

90 Unemployment benefit: grounds of hardship

91 Unemployment benefit: ineligibility

92 Community wage: application on grounds of sickness, injury, or disability [Repealed]

93 Community wage: determination of application [Repealed]

93A Additional fees for general medical services on public holidays and at night [Repealed]

94 Community wage: job seeker contract [Repealed]

94A Rural practice bonuses [Repealed]

95 Job seeker contract for other beneficiaries [Repealed]

96 Community wage: not payable until job seeker contract signed [Repealed]

96A Unemployment benefit: pre-benefit activities

96B Department must explain obligations in relation to pre-benefit activities

97 Unemployment benefit: obligations on beneficiaries

97A Immunisation benefit [Repealed]

98 Unemployment benefit: payment

99 Unemployment benefit: rates

99AA Unemployment benefit: expiry

99AB Unemployment benefit: requirements for re-grant

99A Transfer from community wage to unemployment benefit on 1 July 2001

100 Department's obligations in respect of work testing and community wage [Repealed]

100A Extension of power of use by Crown of patented invention [Repealed]

Work test

101 Purpose of sections 102 to 123D

102 Application of work test

102A Work test obligations

103 Delayed application of work test: age of dependent child [Repealed]

104 Delayed application of work test: bereavement or separation [Repealed]

104A Transitional provision dealing with deferrals

105 Exemption from obligations

Job seeker agreements


105A Description of job seeker agreement and responsibilities arising from it [Repealed]

105B Entering into and reviewing job seeker agreement [Repealed]

105C Department to explain to beneficiaries their rights and obligations

105D Job seeker contracts to have effect as job seeker agreements [Repealed]

Deferral of work-test obligations


106 Application for deferral of work-test obligations [Repealed]

107 Chief executive may defer work-test obligations [Repealed]

108 Effect of deferral [Repealed]

109 Persons who are to notify change of circumstances affecting exemption or deferral [Repealed]

Job seeker development activities


110 Defining job seeker development activities [Repealed]

111 Assistance provided by department

112 Organised activities to have effect as job seeker development activities [Repealed]

Sanctions regime

113 Procedure for imposing sanctions

114 Notices

115 Failure to comply with work test

115A Failure to comply with obligations under section 60GAB

116 Failure to participate in activity under section 60HA [Repealed]

117 Sanctions that may be imposed for failures

118 Penalties for failure to participate in organised activity to satisfaction of chief executive [Repealed]

119 Calculation of failure rate

120 Modified effect in some cases of sanctions on rate of benefit for people married or in civil union or de facto relationship

121 Effect of sanctions on benefit of sole parent

General provisions

122 Meaning of recompliance

123 Effect of ceasing to be subject to obligation to comply with section 60HA or obligations under section 60GAB or work test

123A Effect of employment on non-entitlement period

123B Effect of participation in certain activities on non-entitlement period

123C Application of Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and Human Rights Act 1993

123D Regulations

Part 3
General provisions

124 Money payable out of Crown Bank Account

124A Payment of supplementary assistance may be deemed an advance [Repealed]

125 Advances to beneficiaries and war pensioners for repair or maintenance of home, etc [Repealed]

126 Cost of repair and replacement of artificial limbs

126A Information on beneficiaries and former beneficiaries may be disclosed to Ministry of Justice for fines enforcement purposes

126AB Disclosure of personal information to Registrar-General for birth registration purposes

126B Certain grounds of discrimination in Human Rights Act 1993 not to apply

127 Offences

128 Proceedings for offences

129 General penalty for offences

130 Exemptions from stamp duty [Repealed]

131 Declarations

131A Disclosure of information between Department of Social Welfare and Department of Labour [Repealed]

131B Definitions for purposes of sections 131C and 131D [Repealed]

131C Notice of decision to suspend, reduce, or cancel work-tested benefit [Repealed]

131D Reduction of notice period [Repealed]

131E Notices [Repealed]

131F Jurisdiction of Privacy Commissioner [Repealed]

131G Privacy Commissioner to report on compliance with section 131C [Repealed]

132 Regulations

132AA Regulations exempting items from treatment as income or cash assets may have retrospective effect

132AB Regulations relating to temporary additional support

132A Regulations providing for issue and use of entitlement cards

132AC Regulations relating to childcare assistance

132B Regulations providing for assessment of financial means of people requiring disability services [Repealed]

132C Regulations relating to overseas pensions

132D Regulations exempting income and assets from assessment of financial means of people requiring certain disability services

132E Regulations relating to work capacity assessment [Repealed]

132F Regulations providing for participation allowance

132G Regulations providing for remittance or suspension of debt

132H Rules providing for determination of incomes of certain people by chief executive

132I Rules relating to determination by chief executive of deprivation of property or income

132J Regulations stating pre-benefit activities

132K Regulations relating to advance payments of benefit

133 Annual reports

134 Consequential amendment [Repealed]

135 Repeals and savings

Part 4
Long-term residential care in hospital or rest home

136AA Purpose of this Part

136AB Overview of this Part

136 Interpretation

Needs assessment

137 Needs assessment

138 Effect of being assessed as requiring long-term residential care in hospital or rest home indefinitely

Liability to pay

139 Personal obligation to pay for care

140 Funder's liability in respect of persons whose assets are above applicable asset threshold or who have not been means assessed

141 Funder's liability in respect of persons whose assets are equal to or below applicable asset threshold

142 Funder's liability in respect of exempt persons and elderly victims of crime

143 Residents assessed as requiring care aged 50 to 64 not required to pay out of assets

Means assessment

144 Application for means assessment

145 Date of means assessment

146 Means assessment as to assets

147 Means assessment as to income

147A Deprivation of assets and income

148 Notice of means assessment (including reviews)

149 Obligation to advise change of circumstances and right to apply for review

150 Review of means assessment

151 Conjugal status for purpose of means assessment


152 Maximum contributions set by Gazette notice

153 Residential care loan scheme

154 Clothing allowance

155 Regulations relating to this Part

Schedule 1


Schedule 2


Schedule 3
Rates of widows' benefits

Schedule 4
Maximum rates of orphans' benefits and unsupported childs' benefits

Schedule 5
Rates of family benefits


Schedule 6
Rates of invalids' benefits

Schedule 7
Rates of miners' benefits and miners' widows' benefits


Schedule 8
Rates of benefit payable to person receiving a sickness benefit immediately before 1 July 1998


Schedule 9
Rates of unemployment benefits and sickness benefits

Schedule 10
Special income exemption in respect of sick benefits from friendly or like society (New Zealand Superannuation payable under section 16, invalids', widows', domestic purposes, and sickness benefits only)

Schedule 11
Special income exemption in respect of earnings from domestic and nursing service


Schedule 12
Maximum increase in rate of benefit payable to parent of deceased member of forces or mercantile marine

Schedule 13
Enactments repealed

Schedule 14
Child supplements


Schedule 15
Maximum rate of rehabilitation allowances


Schedule 16
Rates of domestic purposes benefits

Schedule 17
Rates of domestic purposes benefits

Schedule 18
Accommodation supplement

Schedule 19
Rates of child disability allowance and disability allowance

Schedule 20
Rates of contribution by liable parents to cost of domestic purposes benefit


Schedule 21
Rates of family care grants


Schedule 22
Rates of benefits payable to long-term hospital patients

Schedule 23
Transition to work allowance


Schedule 24
Rates of national superannuation


Schedule 25
Rate of telephone-service-rental allowance


Schedule 26
Rates of independent youth benefits

Schedule 27
Means assessment under Part 4

Schedule 28
Period of benefit stand down

Schedule 29
Powers, functions, and discretions of the Director-General that may be delegated to the chief executive of the Department of Labour


Schedule 30
Method of calculating ability to make payments towards costs of home-based disability support services under section 69FA

Schedule 31
Asset and income limits that may be applied to certain assistance

Social Security (Rates of Benefits and Allowances) Order 2008

Social Security (Rates of Benefits and Allowances) Order 2009

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend the Social Security Act 1938 and its amendments