Parliament: Changes to CPF Act allow more flexibility for transfers, mortgage insurance

CPF members aged 55 and above can now transfer money from their accounts to their spouses' accounts.
CPF members aged 55 and above can now transfer money from their accounts to their spouses' accounts.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

SINGAPORE - Central Provident Fund (CPF) members aged 55 and above can now transfer money from their accounts, including their Retirement Account, to their spouses' accounts as long as they meet the Basic Retirement Sum.

This sum is $80,500 for those who turn 55 this year.

This was among changes to the Law passed on Monday (Feb 29) to increase the flexibility of the scheme, as well as to allow more people to make claims under two CPF insurance schemes.

Previously, people could transfer CPF savings to their spouses only if they had met the Full Retirement Sum, which is twice the Basic sum.

The change will allow both spouses to have their own CPF Life plans and more secured retirement income for life, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in Parliament.

"This flexibility will be useful for spouses who may not have enough CPF savings to join CPF Life for reasons such as leaving the workforce to take care of their children," he said.

Members will also need to choose their CPF Life plan only when they are eligible to start receiving payouts, rather than at age 55 which could be about 10 years earlier.

The amendments to the CPF Act, which were passed by Parliament, also allows CPF members with terminal illnesses or total permanent disability - but are still able to work in a diminished capacity - to make claims under the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) and Dependant's Protection Scheme (DPS). Previously, claims could be made only if a member died or became unable to ever work again.

The HPS protects CPF members and their families against losing their homes if the insured person dies or is permanently incapacitated before the housing loan for their HDB flat is paid up.

To reduce the numbers of people who lose their HPS coverage because they and their spouses run out of savings in their Ordinary Accounts to pay the premiums, other co-owners of flats including children, parents or siblings will now be able to contribute to the premiums from their Ordinary Accounts.

Another change to the CPF Act lets the CPF Board impose administrative penalties if medical institutions and approved insurerers - who help to do Medisave withdrawals - make wrong or unauthorised claims on CPF members' Medisave savings, or do not comply with the CPF Board's administrative requirements.

Additionally, employers will be able to use projected wages for the current year to make their estimations for additional wages that attract CPF contributions. This move is meant to improve efficiency as employers are less likely to over-pay CPF contributions and have to apply for refunds.

Finally, CPF members will be able to apply to withdraw cash payouts from various Government schemes such as GST vouchers if the payouts went into their accounts because they did not cash in their cheques in time.

"As these payouts are meant to support members' daily needs, this amendment will allow members to withdraw these credited monies without being subject to existing CPF withdrawal rules," said Mr Lim.