So you want your money out of KiwiSaver for "significant financial hardship".
Forums are full of people complaining that their provider won't let them have their own money - but it should be difficult to withdraw.
KiwiSaver was introduced to help people save for their retirement. Early withdrawal is a last resort for those who can't meet minimum living expenses.
Such expenses include essential items like food, accommodation, healthcare and essential travel.
They do not include credit card or hire purchase debt for to non-essential living expenses, fines or infringement notices, holidays or travel to visit a sick relative, for example.
This is where it gets tricky. Serious debt and significant hardship aren't always the same thing.
A proportion of those applying for hardship withdrawal wouldn't need the money if they'd had the financial know-how to budget. A car upgrade here, TV there, the latest iPhone, Netflix, Sky TV, - it's very easy to build up serious debt.
Amanah KiwiSaver managing director Brian Henry says customers who are successful with hardship withdrawals tend to be people who have lost a job or fallen ill.
But some people think of KiwiSaver funds being for very short-term financial needs, such as fixing the car or transitions in careers, says David Boyle of Mint Asset Management.
Significant financial hardship is you or a dependent family member knocking on heaven's door, he says.
Craig Simpson, head of operations and research at Simplicity KiwiSaver, says there can be a catch-22 "where clearing debts is often the best thing for the member and allows them to get back on their feet - however it compromises their retirement savings".
The paperwork for a hardship withdrawal is laborious and those that stick with it may not get all they expect. That's especially the case with credit card balances. Trustees, who make the decision, only allow arrears or minimum payments, says Simpson.
Members who are too embarrassed to go to WINZ or their bank for help often have their amount of their withdrawal reduced, says Simpson.
Inevitably there are complaints to the dispute resolution services when hardship withdrawals are rejected. Those complaints don't always succeed.
Financial Services Complaints Limited sided with the trustee in one decision where a member's wife had $30,000 in savings.
FSCL agreed that Frank was part of a household, not an individual, and his wife Pauline's savings had to be taken into consideration. The trustee was therefore entitled to decline Frank's application on the grounds that he had not exhausted all available funds.
It's not unusual for trustees to receive request from members who can't pay their private school fees.
The guidelines expressly prohibit this. In one such case reviewed by FSCL, the trustee noted that the couple claimed their children were bullied in state school. The decision noted as well that the couple was giving $150 a week to a church, which if diverted to household costs would relieve some of their hardship.
There is a growing trend of savers switching funds after being declined a hardship withdrawal. However, be warned: There are only a handful of trustees in New Zealand and so it's likely that the same people may be assessing a new withdrawal request.