Significant financial hardship withdrawal
What is a significant financial hardship withdrawal?
A significant financial hardship withdrawal is an avenue of last resort and is generally only an option if you need help to meet urgent and unexpected expenses beyond your reasonable control. ‘Significant financial hardship’ includes (but is not limited to) significant financial difficulties that arise because of:
- your inability to meet minimum living expenses
- your inability to meet minimum mortgage repayments on your principal family residence resulting in the mortgagee seeking to enforce the mortgage on the residence
- the cost of modifying a residence for you or a dependant to meet special needs arising from a disability
- the cost of medical treatment for you or a dependant for an illness or injury
- the cost of palliative care for you or a dependant
- the cost of a funeral for a dependant
- your suffering from a serious illness (as defined in the KiwiSaver Rules).
The trustee has adopted the Workplace Savings NZ Significant Financial Hardship Processing Guidelines to help assess withdrawal applications. You can view a copy of these guidelines at fsc.org.nz. The trustee may also consider any additional relevant industry guidance issued from time to time.
A significant financial hardship withdrawal is not an automatic benefit, and your application must meet specific criteria before we will consider granting it. If your application is reasonable, appropriate and falls within the guidelines, we will do our best to help you.
As a general rule, we do not approve applications made for the purpose of retiring or releasing debt. However, in certain circumstances, we may approve an application to provide short-term relief in order to give you time to restructure your finances. We also do not generally approve applications for money for a deposit to buy a house.
If we approve your application, we may consider the withdrawal of all or a part of the amount you have requested.
Assessing the impact on your long-term savings plan
Withdrawing funds from your superannuation account is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It may have a significant impact on your long-term financial wellbeing. For legislative reasons, we can’t accept lump sum contributions into the scheme except in very limited circumstances. This makes it far more challenging to pay back money you’ve withdrawn should your financial situation improve. We recommend you use the retirement income calculator to assess the impact on your savings plan of withdrawing money now. You can also use the calculator to work out a plan to reduce the long-term consequences of any withdrawal you make. To access the calculator, sign in to your account. Remember, you can elect to make voluntary contributions to the scheme as regular deductions from your pay at any time.
We recommend you seek professional budgeting advice if you are experiencing financial difficulty. It’s a chance to sit down with a qualified financial adviser and sort out a plan to get on top of things. Budgeting advice may be available to you through your employer’s employee assistance programme. Sometimes, the trustee will make getting professional budgeting advice a condition of the significant financial hardship withdrawal application process.
Completing your application
You need to complete a Significant financial hardship withdrawal. Complete all sections of the form in full and include supporting documentation. If we need to seek further information or clarification from you, this might cause a delay in considering your application or we may decline your application. The information you provide will only be used to assess your application. Please be honest and open about your financial situation. We will treat all information provided as confidential. It will not be shared with your employer or form part of your personnel record.