According to the Inland Revenue, people contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme may be eligible for a one-off withdrawal to cover the costs of a health related surgery. This withdrawal may be some or all of the funds, and you may continue to keep the fund open and contribute.
In order to be entitled to this withdrawal, according to the KiwiSaver Act 2006, you may access the funds because of:
- an illness, injury or disability that permanently affects your ability to work or poses a risk of death
- a life-shortening congenital condition that lowers your life expectancy below the age of eligibility for New Zealand superannuation (currently 65).
In order to start this process, the first step is to check with your provider how much money you are entitled to. Eligible members can withdraw all or some of the funds in a one-off withdrawal.
For example, some obesity related health concerns can be defined as either illness or disability and for people seeking weight loss surgery this is good news. Some weight related issues can prevent people from being able to work in their chosen occupation – which is a concern. A GP or medical professional (for example Bariatric Surgeon) will need to determine and then certify that you do meet this clause, from here the application is made and the Kiwisaver scheme fund manager will make a decision based on the advice they receive. This does sound like quite a process, but for our weight loss patients it has meant they have been able to achieve surgery.
A life-shortening congenital condition is something that you’ve had since birth and the condition is likely to reduce your life expectancy. Some of these include Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Huntington’s Disease, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. You may also have medical evidence to verify a congenital condition that is expected to reduce your life expectancy – please see your GP for advice around this.
In order to do this you will need to complete a withdrawal request (including a statutory declaration) and provide all of the relevant medical practitioner’s (Surgeon or GP) declaration stating your eligibility. It is important to consider how this withdrawal will impact your retirement savings and it might not suit everyone financially. If you think you need advice around this, it is good to speak to an independent financial advisor around retirement saving.
Upon your request, Ormiston Hospital is able to provide a letter detailing the cost of surgery for your provider.
KiwiSaver is a scheme available to all New Zealand citizens and people entitled to be in New Zealand indefinitely and who are under the age of 65. You will need to be living in New Zealand to qualify for this scheme that helps set you up for retirement. It is voluntary but it has proven to be an excellent way to help kiwis financially in their retirement.