Making a Financial Hardship Withdrawal

20 June, 2023

The purpose of your KiwiSaver savings is for your retirement however, a significant financial hardship withdrawal can help during times of financial difficulty.   You will have to meet strict criteria to be eligible to withdraw any of your funds earlier than retirement.


Eligibility Criteria

You can apply to make a Significant Financial Hardship Withdrawal if you meet any of the following requirements:

You cannot pay for –

  • Minimum living expenses; or
  • The mortgage repayments on your principal family residence resulting in the mortgagee seeking to enforce the mortgage on the residence; or
  • The cost of modifying your residence to meet special needs arising from your or a dependents disability; or
  • The cost of medical treatment for an illness or injury to you or a dependent; or
  • The cost of palliative care for yourself or a dependent; or
  • The cost of a funeral for a dependent.


Who decides if I can withdraw?

The Supervisor of our scheme is Trustees Executors Limited. The Supervisor has the discretion to approve, partially approve or decline your withdrawal application, taking into account your individual circumstances and the requirements of the KiwiSaver Act, at its discretion.


What should I do before I apply?

Ask your bank for help.  Whether they can help you or not, the Supervisor will need to see evidence that you’ve talked to your bank.

Ask Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) for assistance. Whether they can help you or not, the Supervisor will need to see evidence that you’ve talked to WINZ.

If you’re an employee, once you’ve been a member of KiwiSaver for 12 months, you can choose to take a break from saving – this is called a savings suspension. To do this, please contact Inland Revenue here.

If you need some help with your finances, you could arrange to visit a Budget Adviser in your area. There are lots of free Budget Advisory Services across New Zealand who can give advice about government support, debt consolidation and finance options.


How much can I apply to withdraw?

You can apply to withdraw all the funds in your KiwiSaver account excluding any Government contributions, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll be entitled to receive this amount.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive an amount that, in the Supervisor’s opinion, is required to relieve your short-term hardship.


How do I apply?


Step 1:

Complete the Significant Financial Hardship Withdrawal Application in full here.


Step 2:

Collect all of the supporting documents listed in the checklist (see page 1 of the application form). The Supervisor needs these to determine your current financial position.


Step 3:

Take your application form to a Justice of the Peace or any other authorized person. You’ll need to sign the Statutory Declaration in front of them and they will witness your declaration.


Step 4:

You must post or courier your completed application to us using the return details at the front of the application form.

What happens once you receive my application?


Step 1:

We check your application and supporting documents. If anything is missing, we’ll let you know that we need more information. We can’t continue to the next step until we have everything we need from you.


Step 2:

We must send your application and supporting documents to the Supervisor for a decision.  The Supervisor must be reasonably satisfied that you have explored and exhausted all other reasonable alternative sources of funding.  The Supervisor may require additional information from you. The omission of any required documents to support your application may result in your application being delayed or denied.

Step 3:

We’ll let you know the outcome either by phone, email, or letter. The Supervisor is not obliged to disclose the reasons for declining your application, or paying an amount less than you applied for.


Step 4:

If your application is approved, we’ll make payment to the bank account stated on your application form. The Supervisor may direct that the amount withdrawn be limited to a specified amount that, in the Supervisor’s opinion, is required to alleviate the particular hardship.


Step 5:

You should then use the payment to alleviate the claimed hardship. Note: If you make another significant financial hardship claim in the future, you will need to supply evidence that you used any previous payment(s) to alleviate any claimed hardship.

How long does it take?

We’ll be able to give you an indication of whether your application has been successful within 15 business days from receiving your completed application and documents. If we have to ask for additional information, this will cause delays in the processing of your application. 

Please account for the reduced delivery days by New Zealand Post when sending your applications and documents by post.

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