Using your KiwiSaver savings for significant financial hardship

KiwiSaver is set up to help you save for your first home or retirement.
However, if you're experiencing serious financial hardship, you might be eligible for an early withdrawal.

There are many factors that influence how and when you may be able to access your KiwiSaver savings. These rules, along with the requirement to provide evidence, are set by the Government.


What is financial hardship?

Significant financial hardship is when you can’t pay minimum living expenses.

Significant financial hardship includes when you:

  • can’t meet minimum living expenses
  • can’t pay the mortgage on the home you live in, and your mortgage provider is seeking to enforce the mortgage
  • need to modify your home to meet your special needs or those of a dependent family member
  • need to pay for medical treatment for yourself or a dependent family member
  • have a serious illness
  • need to pay funeral costs of a dependent family member.
What are the minimum living expenses?

• basic food and groceries
• mortgage, rent and board payments
• basic clothing
• utility bills: power, water, electricity, phone bills
• basic transportation costs, petrol, bus fares
• medical or care costs for yourself or any financial dependents

Who are my dependents?

• Dependants are people who are financially dependant on you. This could be your partner, relative or children (under 18 years)

What aren't minimum living expenses?

• credit card debt
• hire purchase payments for non-essential items
• fines, infringement notices, WINZ debt or an amount payable under a Court Order
• debt collection agency bills
• holidays
• travel (other than basic transportation)

Will I qualify for a significant financial hardship withdrawal?

When it comes to experiencing significant financial hardship, we understand that not all situations are the same. Making a significant financial hardship withdrawal is a last resort. Before applying for a withdrawal from your KiwiSaver account, you need to explore all other options first including Government financial support and mortgage or loan deferrals offered by your bank or other lenders.

What do I do before I apply?

You’ll need to provide evidence that you’re experiencing significant financial hardship and show you have tried to use all other reasonable options to meet the shortage.

  • Ask Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) for assistance. Whether they can help you or not, we’ll need to see evidence that you’ve talked to WINZ.
  • Due to Covid-19, extra Government financial support could also be available to you. You’ll need to check what assistance is available at the time and confirm in your application that you’ve explored this. To find out the latest information on the NZ Government Covid-19 page, please click here.
  • Talk to your finance/debt provider to see if they can help you with any payment or loan holidays or other financial relief solutions.

You can also check out financial mentor support or seek other government tools like which can help with budgeting advice.

You may also want to explore a savings suspension

If you are employed but continue to suffer from significant financial hardship, you may apply to Inland Revenue for a savings suspension (i.e. to stop future employee contributions coming out of your pay and into your KiwiSaver account). A savings suspension lets you take a break from making contributions to your KiwiSaver for 3 to 12 months to help you meet your on-going living expenses. This option is only available if you have contributed and been a KiwiSaver member for 12 months or more.

Note that stopping your employee contributions will also stop the contributions made by your employer, unless your employment agreement states otherwise. Taking a savings suspension could also mean you may not contribute enough to receive the annual Government contribution.

Visit the Government’s KiwiSaver website for more information on savings suspensions here.

What can I withdraw?

You can only access your member and employer contributions (not any Government contributions). The amount you can withdraw will be limited to the amount required to relieve your hardship. Generally, this will be up to 26 weeks’ worth of your minimum expenses.

Significant financial hardship applications are assessed and approved by the New Zealand Guardian Trust, the Supervisor of the AMP KiwiSaver Scheme. The Supervisor is a legally appointed, independent guardian of AMP investments and investors. They will decide how much you can withdraw based on your circumstances. AMP will help submit your application so that it will be considered by the Supervisor.

How do I apply?


(If a New Zealand Covid-19 alert level 2 or higher is in effect in your region or you are self-isolating while completing the application form, please click here for more information.)

  1. Download and complete the application form. Check that you have not left anything out.

  2. Collect all your supporting documents together. It is important that you include statements for all your bank accounts, not just your main one, and your partner’s if sharing household expenses. If anything is missing, we'll have to come back to you for more information. This will slow down your application.

  3. Take your completed application to a Justice of the Peace (JP), Solicitor, Notary Public, or other authorised person. You'll need to sign the Statutory Declaration in their presence, and they will witness it. They will also certify copies of your identity and address documents. For help with this visit the Citizens Advice Bureau ( or you can also find a JP by clicking here.

  4. Email us the application form and all supporting documentation required to (or if you need to post see address details on the form).

  5. We'll assess your application and contact you if we require anything further. If a completed application with all information is provided, we will be able to assess your financial situation and give you an outcome within 15 working days.
Applying during Covid-19?
Applying during Covid-19?

For extra help, read more here:

Apply for KiwiSaver hardship withdrawal
Apply for KiwiSaver hardship withdrawal

Get the form here:

Where else can I seek help?


Government Covid-19 website - financial support
Work and Income - WINZ
Savings suspension - apply to Inland Revenue
Budgeting help - Sorted or Money Talks
Advice - Citizen's Advice Bureau
Justice of the Peace - JP Finder