What is the significant financial hardship withdrawal?
KiwiSaver is a savings scheme to be used for retirement. However, if you’re facing significant financial hardship, you might be eligible for an early withdrawal.
Please note that withdrawing from your KiwiSaver early will affect your long-term retirement savings.
Can I apply?
The KiwiSaver Act 2006 sets out when a significant financial hardship or hardship withdrawal can be made. Hardship can include:
- Unable to meet your minimum living expenses
- Unable to pay your mortgage/rental/board payments
- Modifying your home to meet special needs arising from your own or a dependant family member’s disability
- Paying for essential medical or dental treatment
- Incurring funeral costs for a deceased dependant*
- Temporarily unable to work due to illness
* A dependant may include a spouse (including a de facto spouse) and/or a child (including an adopted child, stepchild, or ex-nuptial child)
What are minimum living expenses?
Minimum living expenses generally include:
- Basic food and groceries
- Your utility bills: power, water, electricity, phone bills
- Mortgage, rent, and board payments
- Basic transportation costs, petrol, bus fares
- Medical or care costs for yourself or someone who is fully dependent on you
What are NOT minimum living expenses?
- Credit card debt or hire purchase payments for non-essential items
- Fines, infringement notices, WINZ debt or Court Orders
- Debt collection bills and costs
- Travel to attend to sick relatives
- Subscriptions, fees or membership costs
Check if you are likely to qualify for a KiwiSaver significant financial hardship withdrawal.
Making a hardship withdrawal from your retirement savings with KiwiSaver is a last resort, you will need to show that you have exhausted all other avenues to source funds, including Government or bank support before applying.
To apply, you will need to complete an application with us and the decision on your application will be made by our scheme Supervisor. Every KiwiSaver scheme will have its own independent, licensed Supervisor who ensures that we are complying with the KiwiSaver rules. Our Supervisor is The Public Trust. They will be responsible for deciding whether you will be approved a withdrawal or not and if approved, how much will be released to alleviate your hardship. This will be determined based on the information you have provided in your application, therefore it's helpful to provide as much information as possible about your situation.
The threshold for a hardship withdrawal is very high. The Supervisor needs to be reasonably satisfied that you are suffering or likely to suffer from significant financial hardship and reasonable alternative sources of funding have been explored and have been exhausted. It's important to note that the Government has set out these rules for KiwiSaver, so the rules are all the same across providers.
If you are successful, the Supervisor will decide how much funds to release to you based on the evidence you have provided in your application. Any Government contributions cannot be withdrawn and must remain in your KiwiSaver account.
If you qualify:
How to apply?
- It is advisable that you check the requirements under the KiwiSaver Act 2006. This may assist you in deciding whether to apply. In addition, the Workplace Savings Guidelines provide a good overview of the process, all Supervisors are required to refer to this when completing their assessment of such withdrawal.
- Please give us a call on 0800 855 322 to speak about your situation and obtain the latest form before you apply.
- Complete the latest application form in full.
- Collect and provide recently dated supporting documents. The Supervisor assesses these applications as a household; therefore, you will need to include supporting documents for both yourself and your partner if living together.
- Take your application form to an authorised person under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 i.e. J.P, Notary of Court, solicitor etc. You will need to complete the Statutory Declaration in front of them and they will witness your signature. They will also be able to certify your photo ID.
Where do I send my application to?
Email: please scan your completed application form and all supporting documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Post: please post your completed application form and all supporting documents to: Generate KiwiSaver Scheme, PO Box 91609, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142
What happens once we receive your application?
- We check your application and supporting evidence – we will contact you to let you know if any further information is required for the Supervisor’s assessment.
- If all information is provided, we will send your application (form and supporting documents) to the Supervisor.
- The Supervisor then makes the final decision.
(Please note: the Supervisor may request further information prior to that if necessary).
- Once their decision has been made, we advise you of the outcome either by email, or letter.
- If your application is approved, the payment is made to the personal bank account in your name.
How long will my application process take?
Typically, it takes our members between 10-20 days to complete the application and gather the supporting information. We often receive incomplete forms which slow down the process. To try and make it easier for you, we include a checklist for you to use on the application form. Once we receive the correct forms, the application is sent to our KiwiSaver Supervisor, Public Trust who makes the decision. This process can take between 5-8 business days. So, if your application is successful, you should expect to take between 15 to 30 days before you receive some funds.
If you don't qualify:
You might not qualify for a hardship withdrawal from your KiwiSaver account. This may be because you are still able to pay for your minimum living expenses or mortgage or rent repayments.
Although funeral costs, medical bills and altering your home for disability, are allowable circumstances for making a significant financial hardship withdrawal, you will need to provide evidence that you have exhausted all other alternative sources of funding first. However, as we mentioned earlier, we know that not every case is the same. If you've explored all the options we've provided below, and still want to talk to us about making a significant financial hardship withdrawal, please get in touch.
Have you tried contacting these support networks first?
Work and Income NZ (WINZ):https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/
Your bank or lender: Are you having trouble paying the mortgage or loan? Speak to your bank or other lender to work out a payment plan or restructure any debt.
Sorted NZ and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB): Visit https://sorted.org.nz/ for ways to help you cope financially or your local CAB, you can refer you to other great services available in your local area as well as budgeting advice.
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing financial hardship and currently having contributions deducted from your salary or wages, you may wish to apply for a KiwiSaver savings suspension through Inland Revenue. You can apply via your MyIR account or by calling IRD. For more info visit www.ird.govt.nz
If you have exhausted all other reasonable sources of funding and believe that you may be eligible to apply for the withdrawal of part of your KiwiSaver, please call us on 0800 855 322 and we can assist you through the application process.