KiwiSaver Significant Financial Hardship Withdrawal and Saving Suspensions

21 May 2020

Due to COVID-19 and its impact, we are experiencing an increase in the number of significant financial hardship applications. We understand that this is a stressful time for many people and to help you, some changes to the requirements have been put in place. These changes will help reduce hurdles you may face when completing your application. For the eligibility criteria for a financial hardship withdrawal please refer to the form.

If you are still working, you can also consider a KiwiSaver savings suspension which will stop future employee and employer contributions being deducted from your pay for a set period of time.

 Before applying, have you looked at the financial support that is on offer during COVID-19?

Although it may be tempting to take out that money now, it could affect the balance you have when you reach retirement. Before doing this, you should look at what the government’s COVID-19 support package could provide you in the first instance. As of 2 April 2020, the support available includes:

  • Leave and self-isolation support
  • Wage subsidy scheme
  • Mortgage holiday, business finance support schemes and other bank arrangements
  • Business cash flow and tax measures
  • Support for Māori communities and businesses
  • Work and Income support to meet essential costs
  • Income support package for vulnerable people

 

If you are not aware of these, you can access additional information about these support packages here.

If you are aware of these and you are receiving some level of financial support and you are still in serious financial hardship, or if you have considered these and you are not eligible to receive support or do not wish to utilise some of these options, please let us know as part of your application.

 Statutory Declaration

With New Zealand moving to alert level 2 for COVID-19, it is now possible for people to sign the Statutory Declaration in front of an authorised witness as outlined in the Significant Financial Hardship form. However, if you are unable to connect with a lawyer or Justice of the Peace and cannot complete a Statutory Declaration in person there are some options using video/audio calling that we can support you with. You can contact us on 0800 2675494 to discuss. In order to be able to process your financial hardship withdrawal as soon as we can, we will require a confirmation  from you that you have explored all government assistance packages prior to this application.

What you need to do

  1. Download and complete the Significant Financial Hardship withdrawal form
  2. Collect all supporting documents listed in the checklist on page 3 of the form (see the point below on evidence if you are having trouble collecting it all)
  3. Ensure all documents are certified by a Trusted Referee
  4. Get the Statutory Declaration completed (if you are unable to complete a statutory declaration in person then contact us on 0800 2675494)
  5. Email us the application form and all other supporting documents required

Once we’ve received your application, one of the AMP team will be in touch with you.

Evidence

If the significant financial hardship is likely due to loss of income from COVID-19-related events, then the Supervisor (who approves these withdrawal applications) is requiring less evidence than in normal times to support the withdrawal, where the amounts of essential costs to be covered are reasonable.

For example this could include:

  • Your last month’s pay slip or details of your termination or reduced income
  • Your latest month’s bank statements
  • Your latest mortgage statement, and a note confirming whether any mortgage assistance is available
  • If you are self-employed or a business owner, your latest financial statements (if applicable), or other supporting documentation confirming any arrears or overdue amounts
  • Any other evidence as to how you or your business has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and/or the lock down measures required by the Government
  • All reasonable and direct one-off costs to be paid out to facilitate you or any of your family’s repatriation to New Zealand, such as flights and hotel accommodation
  • All reasonable and direct costs to be paid out to support you or any of your family’s self-isolation, such as additional accommodation
  • All reasonable and necessary one-off costs associated with you or any of your family enabling themselves to work from home

If  you are in self-isolation or do not have access to technology, such that you are not able to provide the necessary evidence and complete a Statutory Declaration (including by video or audio means), your application may be able to proceed with up to a six-week interim payment to help you through these tough times and you can always come back to request a further withdrawal and provide further evidence when this is available.

Savings Suspension

If you are employed, you may apply to Inland Revenue for a savings suspension (i.e. to stop future employee and employer contributions coming out of your pay and into your KiwiSaver account). The funds that are currently in your KiwiSaver account will continue to be invested.

All KiwiSaver members who have made a contribution and have been a member for 12 months or more can have a savings suspension and don't need to provide a reason. If a savings suspension is granted, the suspension will be a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year.

If you have been in KiwiSaver for less than 12 months you can apply for an early savings suspension if you are suffering (or are likely to suffer) financial hardship at any time after Inland Revenue received your first contribution. You need to provide evidence to Inland Revenue about why you are suffering financial hardship (e.g. reduced hours, loss of job). Having your KiwiSaver balance reduce because of the market movements doesn’t qualify you for financial hardship. If a savings suspension is granted, the suspension will be three months (or up to a year if Inland Revenue agrees).

If Inland Revenue grants a savings suspension they will notify you, your employer and AMP. When the savings suspension period expires, you can apply to Inland Revenue for another savings suspension (there is no limit on the number of successive savings suspensions).

To apply for a savings suspension, visit Inland Revenue's website.



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