Changes proposed to CPF and Women's Charter

Changes that will allow Central Provident Fund (CPF) members to choose their CPF Life plan only when they want to start receiving their payouts from the national annuity scheme were presented in Parliament yesterday.

Instead of making a decision at age 55, as was the case previously, the proposed amendments will let members opt for their preferred plan just before they want to start receiving monthly payouts - which will be from age 65.

The change was among the recommendations made by the CPF Advisory Panel last year. The proposed changes to the CPF Act will enable these to be implemented.

Other proposed changes include giving members more flexibility to withdraw savings from their CPF retirement accounts without having to pledge their properties, and enhancements to two CPF insurance schemes - the Dependants' Protection Scheme and the Home Protection Scheme.

Other changes proposed yesterday were to the Women's Charter.

These include voiding a marriage of convenience, which is an immigration offence; allowing women to provide for their current or ex-husband if he becomes incapacitated and cannot work; and making parents going through a divorce attend a mandatory parenting programme to reduce the impact of the divorce on their children.

Also tabled was the Pioneer Generation Fund (Amendment) Bill, which proposes that the income or means of a pioneer generation individual - most of whom are aged 67 and above this year - be disregarded when benefits are determined. They include subsidies to healthcare costs. The Finance Ministry said that benefits given to the pioneer generation are meant to "honour their contributions and therefore do not vary based on income or means".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Changes proposed to CPF and Women's Charter'. Print Edition | Subscribe