What is the significant financial hardship withdrawal?

KiwiSaver is a savings scheme to be used for retirement. Given that the purpose of your KiwiSaver savings is for your retirement there are limited circumstances that allow you to withdraw your money earlier.

Please note that withdrawing from your KiwiSaver early will affect your long-term retirement savings. Further information can be found here 

One of these circumstances is significant financial hardship. As per the KiwiSaver Act 2006, if you are suffering or likely to suffer significant financial hardship, you may be able to withdraw all or part of your savings (excluding any government contributions and Kickstart if applicable).  

You must be able to demonstrate that you meet the criteria which can include if you are: 

  • 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 

What are minimum living expenses? 

Minimum living expenses generally include: 

  • Basic food and groceries 

  • Mortgage/rent/board payments 

  • Basic clothing and normal household items 

  • Utility bills (power, water, phone) 

  • Basic transport costs 

  • Expenses in relation to any financial dependants with special needs 

  • Insurances 

  • Essential medical and dental costs 

  • Public school fees (excluding donations and private) 

Have you explored all other options? 

In assessing your hardship claim, the Supervisor will require to see that you have taken all reasonable steps to alleviate your current financial hardship. This includes providing supporting evidence that you have exhausted all other reasonable alternative sources of funding available to you, such as: 

  • Approaching WINZ for assistance 

  • Refinancing or consolidating your existing debt 

  • Making minimum repayment arrangements 

  • Having a financial review with your bank

  • Applying for any Government’s COVID-19 relief packages

  • Seeking budget advice from a budget adviser

  • Applying for a KiwiSaver savings suspension  

Who decides if you meet the criteria? 

The Supervisor of the Scheme assesses whether you meet the criteria for the Significant Financial Hardship Withdrawal and decides on whether to approve your withdrawal application.  

Our Supervisor is Public Trust.  

Decisions are based on the information included within the withdrawal form and any supporting documents you provide. Generate KiwiSaver Scheme will help work with you to collect this information on behalf of the Supervisor. 

Approval of your withdrawal request is at the Supervisor’s discretion and not guaranteed. The Supervisor may consider the withdrawal of all or part of the amount you seek and may direct that the amount withdrawn be limited to a specified amount that the Supervisor considers is required to alleviate your particular hardship. Generally, this will be up to 13 weeks’ shortfall worth of your minimum living expenses.  

Please note that funds cannot be released to repay loans or credit cards in full, however minimum repayment arrangements may be considered in your weekly expenses. It is important to understand if your application is approved, you can only withdraw from your and your employer’s contributions (not any government contributions). 

How to apply? 

  1. 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.

  2. Please give us a call on 0800 855 322 to speak about your situation and obtain the latest form before you apply.

  3. Complete the latest application form in full.

  4. 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.

  5. 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: info@generatekiwisaver.co.nz 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? 

  1. We check your application and supporting evidence – we will contact to let you know if any further information is required for the Supervisor’s assessment.  

  1. If all information is provided, we will send your application (form and supporting documents) to the Supervisor.   

  1. The Supervisor then makes the final decision. 
    (Please note: the Supervisor may request further information prior to that if necessary). 

  1. Once their decision has been made, we advise you of the outcome either by email, or letter. 

  1. If your application is approved, the payment is made to the personal bank account in your name.   

How long will my application process take?  

If you provide all the necessary information, we should be able to send your application to the Supervisor for their assessment and give you an outcome in approx. 15 business days. Please note, if the Supervisor requires additional information at any stage of your application, this may cause delays in the processing of your application. 

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. 


* A dependant may include a spouse (including a de facto spouse) and/or a child (including an adopted child, stepchild, or ex nuptial child)