22 Aug 2022

Retirement Commissioner on pensioners stranded under Covid

From Checkpoint, 5:50 pm on 22 August 2022

The Ministry of Social Development is proactively reviewing the cases of pensioners who had their superannuation cut off after getting stranded overseas due to Covid border restrictions - with some ordered to pay back six months' worth of payments back.

According to the rules after 26 weeks overseas pension payments are frozen and at 30 weeks away you can be forced to pay back the previous six months of super.

At least 7,059 pensioners had their superannuation frozen because they left the country between April 2020 February 2022 - though MSD cannot say if all of them were stranded due to Covid restrictions.

Earlier in the programme we heard from a pensioner who after months of battling finally had MSD decision reversed and the $10,000 debt against her wiped.

MSD says its had 494 applications for a review of their decisions - 170 are yet to be decided.

Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson talks to Lisa Owen.