KiwiSaver and significant financial hardship

Experiencing significant financial hardship? Find out if you’re eligible to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings early.

KiwiSaver is a long-term investment to help you buy your first home or fund your retirement. However, if you're experiencing significant financial hardship that means you can't keep up with everyday costs and bills, you may be able to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver savings early.

We can help you to prepare your application for a significant financial hardship withdrawal. We'll send your application off to our Supervisor, a separate company who oversees the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme. They'll  review your application and check it meets the criteria.

Am I eligible?

Find out what the criteria is to apply to withdraw some, or all, of your KiwiSaver savings (excluding any Government contributions).

How do I apply?

Read our step-by-step guide on how to apply and what information and evidence you’ll need to include.

How long does it take?

Read about what to expect, how the application process works and how long it usually takes to get an outcome.

Am I eligible for a hardship withdrawal?

Here are some of the questions our KiwiSaver members ask when thinking about applying to withdraw some of their KiwiSaver savings early.

What is significant financial hardship?

If you’re unable to pay for:

  • Minimum living expenses, such as power, water and food;
  • Mortgage payments, rent or board (and your mortgage provider is enforcing the mortgage);
  • Medical bills for yourself or your dependents;
  • Modifications to your home to meet special needs if you or a dependent is disabled;
  • Funeral costs of a dependent;
  • Or if you have a serious illness.

What are minimum living expenses?

  • Basic food and groceries;
  • Your utility bills: power, water, electricity, phone bills;
  • Mortgage, rent, board;
  • Basic transportation costs, petrol, bus and train fares;
  • Medical or care costs for yourself or someone who is fully dependent on you.

What aren't minimum living expenses?

  • Credit card debt or hire purchase payments for non-essential items;
  • Fines, infringement notices, WINZ debt or Court Orders;
  • Debt collection bills and costs;
  • Holidays;
  • Travel to visit sick relatives;
  • Subscriptions, fees or membership costs.

Who are my dependants?

  • Dependants are people who are financially dependent on you. Typically, this is your partner, relative or children (under 18 years of age).

Important: When it comes to experiencing significant financial hardship, we know not every situation is the same. Making a hardship withdrawal from KiwiSaver is a last resort, so you’ll need to show that you’re not able to cover costs and that you have exhausted all other sources of funds, including Government or bank support, before applying. We can support in ensuring your application is as complete as possible for when our Supervisor, Public Trust, reviews your application.

How to apply

If you’ve read the criteria and think they apply to you, call our team on 0800 ASB RETIRE (0800 272 738). We’ll help you with your application.

What are other ways I could get help?

With your application you’ll need to provide documents to show you’ve explored all other avenues for debt assistance, even if you think you won’t be able to get any help.

  • Talk to your bank and see if they can help with flexibility on loan repayments and money you owe. If you're looking to make a withdrawal for something essential like emergency repairs on your existing vehicle, your bank might be a good place to ask for help (e.g. they might be able to assist with a personal loan to help cover this expense).
  • Work and Income NZ (WINZ): ask WINZ if you are eligible for any assistance (and make sure you keep the written confirmation from WINZ to provide as evidence).
  • Check out ASB’s Support Finder to help you find financial support that might be available to you. By answering some simple questions we’ll help connect you with government benefits and services you may be eligible for – including some you might not know about.

You can also check out Sorted for help with other things you can do to cope financially. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Money Talks helpline can offer you free advice about government support, debt consolidation and finance options, and can help you complete a budget schedule.

If your financial hardship is likely to continue, you may wish to apply for a savings suspension through Inland Revenue.  A savings suspension allows you to take a break from making contributions to your KiwiSaver to help you meet your on-going living expenses. The form is available here.

What information and documents will I need for my application?

Your hardship application is assessed on your total household income, expenses and assets. If you’re applying jointly with your spouse/partner, please note that we’ll require a separate application form from each of you.

  • Certified copy of your identification (for non-verified ASB customers);
  • An application form with the accompanying Statutory Declaration (see more in section below) properly signed and witnessed by an authorised person;
  • Non-ASB bank statements for the last three months;
  • Non-ASB credit card statements for the last three months;
  • If you're a homeowner with a mortgage that isn’t with ASB, a mortgage statement showing your regular minimum mortgage repayments, outstanding balance and any overdue payments;
  • If you rent, a copy of your current rental or tenancy agreement or certified letter from your landlord;
  • Proof of wages or salary;
  • Your redundancy notice if applicable;
  • Statements showing current balances, regular minimum payment obligations, and current overdue payments such as finance company loans, rent, fines, personal or car loans, household bills;
  • Letter evidence from WINZ confirming you are not eligible for support from them;
  • Evidence you sought a repayment plan option with your provider for any that apply above or that you have tried to reduce this to the minimum repayment.

What is a Statutory Declaration and who is an authorised person?

A Statutory Declaration is a signed written legal document, used as a formal way to provide evidence. You will need to sign the Statutory Declaration included with the application form in front of an authorised person, and they will need to witness it. The Statutory Declaration contains a list of people who are authorised to witness it, including:

  • a Justice of the Peace; or
  • a barrister or solicitor of the High Court; or
  • a notary public; or
  • the Registrar of Deputy Registrar of the High Court or of any District Court; or
  • a member of Parliament; or
  • officers of the Crown or of a local authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act 2002, authorised for that purpose by the Minister of Justice from time to time; or
  • an employee of Public Trust constituted under the Public Trust Act 2001, authorised for that purpose by the Minister of Justice from time to time.

Statutory Declaration made outside New Zealand

A Statutory Declaration made in a Commonwealth country other than New Zealand can be made before a Judge, a Commissioner of Oaths, a notary public, a Justice of the Peace, a Commonwealth representative, a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand or any other person authorised by the law of that country to administer an oath for a judicial proceeding. A Statutory Declaration made in a country other than a Commonwealth country can be made before a Commonwealth representative, a Judge, notary public or a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

How much can I apply for and who decides?

  • All KiwiSaver schemes are trusts and have a supervisor, who is independent of ASB. The supervisor will decide how much you can withdraw based on your circumstances and your application information. We’re here to help you prepare your application so it can be considered by the supervisor.
  • We’ll make the payment (if approved) to your bank account, and we may have to adjust the withdrawal amount for any tax liability arising as a result of your withdrawal request.

How does the application process work and how long does it take?

How does the application process work?

Step 1: Call our team on 0800 ASB RETIRE (0800 272 738). We’ll help you get your application started.

Step 2: Get all your supporting documents together (double check that you have all the documents you need as this will help your application stay on track).

Step 3: Take your completed application to a Justice of the Peace, solicitor, notary public, or other authorised person. You'll need to sign the Statutory Declaration in their presence, and they will witness it.

Step 4: Send your application form and supporting documents to our email address (retire@asb.co.nz) or drop it into any ASB Branch. You can also post your application form with supporting documents to the address on the back of the form.

Step 5: We’ll check your application and contact you if we require anything further.

Step 6: We send your application to the Supervisor for a decision.

What happens next?

Step 7: The Supervisor will assess your full application and make a decision. They may approve or decline, or they may ask for more information. If the Supervisor needs more information, this may mean your application takes longer.

Step 8: We'll send you a letter to let you know the Supervisors decision. If approved, we’ll make the payment. Payments are generally processed in 2-3 working days, but it may take a bit longer if you’re outside of New Zealand.

How long does it take?

Provided we have all the information we need, and we don't have to come back to you for more, you should have an answer within 15 business days from the date we receive your application.

How will an early withdrawal impact my future KiwiSaver savings?

It's important to understand that an early withdrawal will make a significant impact on your long-term KiwiSaver savings.

To give you an idea, Sorted NZ share an example of a 35 year old who currently has $22,000 in a KiwiSaver growth fund, who withdraws $20,000. By the age of 65, they would end up having $74,000 less, and even when you adjust for inflation over that 30 years at 2%, it would still be $41,000 less. That is a massive loss for your retirement savings.


If you would like to see how an early withdrawal would impact your future KiwiSaver savings, check out our KiwiSaver calculator, go through the steps and enter in your current balance. See what you're currently on track to receive for your retirement, and then reduce the balance by the amount you want to withdraw and see the impact.

We're here to help

Any questions?

We’re here to help with your ASB KiwiSaver Scheme financial hardship withdrawal questions.

Ask us now

Call us

Speak to a KiwiSaver specialist.

0800 ASB RETIRE (0800 272 738)

Visit a branch

Visit us at one of our many branches across New Zealand.

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Interests in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme (Scheme) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides Scheme administration and distribution services. No person guarantees interests in the Scheme. Interests in the Scheme are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of income and principal invested. For more information see the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement available from this website and the register of offers of financial products at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz (search for ASB KiwiSaver Scheme).