Financial Hardship Withdrawal FAQ

What you need to know

Financial Hardship Withdrawal

When times are tough KiwiSaver can help you get back on your feet.

While KiwiSaver was designed to only be accessed at retirement, or when purchasing your first home, you can withdraw savings early if you qualify for financial hardship.

Financial hardship occurs when a person can't meet their existing financial obligations for a period of time.

While it is possible to withdraw from your KiwiSaver in times of financial hardship, the process is not easy.

But we are here to help you understand firstly if you qualify, and secondly to make an application.

As people deal with the after effects of Cyclone Gabrielle, we wanted to explain how kiwis can access KiwiSaver financial hardship withdrawals.

Am I eligible?

If the below applies to you, you may be able to withdraw funds from your KiwiSaver scheme:

  • Unable to pay for minimum living expenses such as power, water, and food bills.
  • Unable to pay mortgage/rental/board payments.
  • Unable to pay to modify your home to meet special needs if you or a dependent family member is disabled.
  • Unable to pay for medical treatment for you or a dependent family member because of illness, injury, or palliative care.
  • Incurred funeral costs as a dependent family member has died.

How does it work?

All hardship withdrawals will need to be approved by our Fund Supervisor, Public Trust. 

We will work with you to create an application for hardship which will then be considered by our Supervisor.

If they agree that you meet the criteria for financial hardship they will allow you to withdraw from your KiwiSaver fund.

Please keep in mind the process for hardship withdrawals is extremely difficult.

While we will endeavour to help all our customers it is likely that some may not meet the criteria for withdrawals.

How much can I withdraw?

The maximum amount that could be withdrawn is the total value of contributions you and your employer have made, plus investment earnings.

Government contributions are not eligible (e.g. $1000 kick-start and annual Government contributions).

Our Supervisor may approve a withdrawal amount of:

  • Up to 13 weeks of your weekly budget deficit.
  • Funds for urgent costs.
  • Funds for emergency repairs related to Flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • They will consider any debt arrears. 

How do I start the process?

To start the process please email us at [email protected] 

We will contact you to discuss if you qualify, and we will then provide you with a koura Financial Hardship Application Form which outlines everything you need to send back to us. 

If you have any questions or need help with the process, members of our team will be there to help you.

If your application is related to recent floods of Cyclone Gabrielle, we will ask our Supervisor to give you priority approval.

When do I receive payment?

Applications from Flood or Cyclone impacted areas will be prioritised. 

When we have Supervisor approval, the funds should be released to your bank account after two business days. 

We will confirm the amount payable to you and when you can expect it at this time.