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KiwiSaver now available earlier to those with life-shortening conditions

July 23, 2019

Simon Smith | Chief Editor

Written by Simon Smith | Chief Editor

Bringing you all the latest news, views and up-to-date info on KiwiSaver, retirement planning, finance and more.

People with shorter life-expectancy will soon be able to withdraw their funds before 65close-up-document-fountain-pen-48148 (1)

People living with congenital life-shortening conditions will soon be able to access their KiwiSaver funds before they reach 65.

Following the 2018 case of a 40-year-old Auckland man with Down Syndrome not being able to withdraw his KiwiSaver retirement fund, the Government this week announced it will make changes.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Faafoi said he wanted Tim Fairhall – and others in a similar situation – to be able to use their KiwiSaver funds to support their wellbeing.

Fairhall, who had been contributing to KiwiSaver for several years, had campaigned with his mother to a Parliamentary select committee last year - to request changes to KiwiSaver rules. His Down Syndrome means he has a shortened life expectancy.

Faafoi said as a result of Fairhall’s campaign, KiwiSaver will soon feature a withdrawal category for New Zealanders in this situation.

“The current requirement for people to be 65 years of age to access their savings significantly disadvantages those with life-shortening congenital conditions," Faafoi said.

 Tim has a shortened life expectancy but has been contributing to KiwiSaver for a number of years. I want to see Tim and others like him have the ability to use their KiwiSaver to support their wellbeing in their retirement – which is unlikely to be at age 65.

"The new category allows those affected... to withdraw their savings at the point that it makes sense of them to retire."

Those wanting early access would need to provide a medical certificate alongside other evidence – based on a setlist of conditions named in new regulations.

Faafoi said it was only fair that any New Zealander who had been contributing to KiwiSaver should be able to access their savings when they’re ready to retire.

“KiwiSaver allows New Zealanders to build a financially secure future.

“By making these changes, we’re ensuring that people with shortened life expectancies get a fairer deal out of KiwiSaver and that all New Zealanders benefit from the scheme.”

Tags: KiwiSaver, Retirement

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