Benefits when you leave
The benefit payable when you leave work varies.
If you are a locked member, your locked account balances must be paid in accordance with the complying fund rules. Your benefit from UniSaver may be adjusted to reflect the final allocation of interest (which may be positive, nil or negative) when the benefit is paid.
No benefit is payable where you leave service with your employer in order to start service with another employer that participates in UniSaver (for example, if you left the University of Canterbury for a position at Victoria University of Wellington).
Deferred member – keeping your money in UniSaver when you leave
If you retire, leave service, are made redundant or become entitled to the balances in your locked accounts, with our consent and the consent of your employer, you may elect to leave all or part of your benefit in UniSaver and become a deferred member – read more about deferred membership.
Unless otherwise specified, the following benefits exclude amounts in your locked accounts.
Your benefit on retirement is a lump sum equal to the balances in your member standard and employer standard accounts less any amounts in your locked accounts that you are not yet eligible to withdraw.
Your retirement benefit is payable if you retire:
- on or after age 60, or
- with your employer’s consent, if you leave service on or after age 50 and prior to age 60, or
- at any age as a result of ill health.
‘Ill health’ is defined as a physical or mental impairment suffered by you that we determine to be of such an extent that, having regard to your previous employment and other characteristics, your earning capacity is likely to be substantially reduced.
If you wish, you may elect to apply all or part of your retirement benefit towards the purchase of an annuity from any life insurance company that offers annuities.
If you die in service while you are a member or while you are entitled to a deferred benefit from UniSaver, your personal representatives will receive a lump sum equal to the balance in your member standard and employer standard accounts (including any amounts in your locked accounts).
If you leave service for any reason other than retirement, ill health or death, you are entitled to receive the balances in your member standard and employer standard accounts (excluding any amount in your locked accounts) to the date you leave service.
In some circumstances, you may be able to transfer the balance of your standard member and standard employer accounts to another superannuation scheme instead of receiving the benefit on leaving service. Special rules apply to transfers from your locked accounts. Call the helpline to find out more.
Benefits payable from locked accounts
If you are a locked member, the balances in your locked accounts are not normally payable until the later of the date:
- you would ordinarily qualify for New Zealand Superannuation (currently age 65), or
- on which you will have been a member of a complying superannuation fund and/or a KiwiSaver scheme for five years.
The balances in your locked-in accounts will be paid to your personal representatives if you die.
If you emigrate permanently from New Zealand, not less than 12 months after you emigrate, you may apply to us to withdraw the balances in your locked-in accounts (excluding any member tax credits, which revert to Inland Revenue, but including any investment earnings on them), using the Withdrawal on permanent emigration (locked members) form.
A KiwiSaver scheme member who emigrates permanently to Australia:
- is not permitted to make a cash withdrawal on the permanent emigration basis
- is permitted to transfer their full KiwiSaver savings (including member tax credits) to an Australian complying superannuation fund.
Although the withdrawal rules for locked accounts are largely the same as for KiwiSaver, this requirement does not apply to UniSaver. This means that, if you intend emigrating to Australia and wish to transfer your locked account balances to an Australian complying superannuation fund, you must first transfer them from UniSaver to a KiwiSaver scheme before emigrating. You need to think this through carefully. Remember that, if you are not living or don’t normally live in New Zealand, you cannot join KiwiSaver.
You will be required to provide evidence of your permanent emigration.
Call the helpline for further details of the information required. If you are considering this option, you should obtain professional advice.
You may be able to make an earlier withdrawal from your locked accounts if your locked accounts are subject to a Court order, including an order under section 31 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
An earlier withdrawal from your locked accounts may be available if we are reasonably satisfied that you are suffering from a serious illness as defined in the KiwiSaver Act 2006. Serious illness is defined in the Act as an injury, illness or disability that:
- results in you being totally and permanently unable to engage in work for which you are suited by reason of experience, education or training or any combination of those things, or
- poses a serious and imminent risk of death.
Transfers between universities
If you transfer from one university that participates in UniSaver to another, you will continue to be a member of UniSaver. Please complete the Change of employer form and send it to UniSaver’s administration manager, Mercer, to make sure that you receive employer contributions from your new employer.
Note that the Auckland University of Technology is not a participant in UniSaver.
Under the following circumstances, you can transfer all or part of your remaining account balances (excluding your locked account balances) to another superannuation scheme.
If you leave your employer to work for an overseas university or to work for a research facility (in each case, as defined in the trust deed), you can request that the full balances in your member standard and employer standard accounts (excluding any amounts in your locked accounts), adjusted for interest, be transferred to a superannuation scheme to which the overseas university or research facility contributes instead of being paid your leaving service benefit.
To another registered superannuation scheme or KiwiSaver scheme
If you cease to be a member of UniSaver, at your written request, with our consent and the consent of the trustees of the scheme you wish to transfer to, we will pay your benefit to another registered superannuation scheme or KiwiSaver scheme. Your locked account balances can only be transferred to another complying superannuation fund or KiwiSaver scheme.