You are probably well aware that a portion of your KiwiSaver can be used to contribute to a deposit on your first home.  You may however, be unaware that you can access your savings before you reach 65 in certain circumstances.  They are:

  • If you are moving overseas permanently (except for Australia).
  • If you are suffering significant financial hardship.
  • If you are suffering from a serious illness.

Moving overseas

If you have moved overseas and have been out of New Zealand for more than one year, you can withdraw your funds from KiwiSaver.  The exception to this rule is if you have moved to Australia.  As of 1 July 2013 the Governments of Australia and New Zealand have reached an agreement whereby KiwiSaver accounts are portable across the Tasman.  If you have moved to Australia you will either be able to leave your funds in a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme or transfer your funds to an Australian superannuation scheme.

Significant financial hardship

If you are struggling to make ends meet, you may be eligible to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds.  Situations whereby you may be able to do this include:

•    If you are unable to meet basic living expenses
•    If you are unable to make mortgage payments on your property
•    If you are required to renovate your home to accommodate for a disabled family member
•    If you have to pay for medical treatment for a family member who has a long term illness or injury
•    If you have to pay for the funeral costs of a dependant family member.

The exact amount you are able to withdraw will depend on the extent of your hardship.  The amount will usually correspond to the amount which needs to be paid.

Serious illness

If you are afflicted by a serious or terminal illness, or a permanent disability which has affected your ability to work you can withdraw the total funds of your KiwiSaver early.  This includes:

  • Your contributions
  • Your employer’s contributions
  • The $1,000.00 kick-start
  • Any member tax credits.
  • The Government’s annual contributions.