Forum: Claiming CPF monies with no nomination a frustrating experience

The CPF logo at the CPF Bishan Building.
The CPF logo at the CPF Bishan Building.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

As someone currently going through the process of claiming unnominated Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies for a deceased relative, I find the experience frustrating (Over $200m in CPF monies with no nomination left unclaimed, Oct 21).

To begin, there have been bugs in the website, which caused confusion early in the submission. Separately, if you want to submit bank account information, it is unintuitively found in another section of the website, with another set of administrative procedures. Technical issues are just the beginning of the many hurdles and hoops to jump through.

Next, there are a multitude of documents to acquire, from birth certificates and death certificates to decrees nisi. All these from persons who may be dead, live overseas, are estranged or have misplaced the documents. Each document has its own set of challenges: In my case, I even needed to send documents for translation from another language, even if it was just one simple sentence. There are arcane marriage certificates required of grandparents, which may not even exist.

Replies from the Public Trustee's Office can also take weeks. All these delays could lead to misunderstandings and anxiety in the family.

Although Parliament has clarified that almost 90 per cent of the funds have been distributed, it is not clearly reported if this derives from a small number of families with sizeable assets (CPF monies with no nomination: 88% given out in last 5 years, Nov 5).

I have raised this topic in my community, some say that they would rather give up collecting the money than go through all this trouble.

It was reported that the CPF Board processed about 120,000 nomination applications last year, more than double the 50,000 nominations made in 2013. The large numbers hint that there are still many people who have not yet made a nomination and suggest there may be many who need active help in doing the paperwork.

Nominations are not made for a variety of reasons. Some people underestimate the amount of savings left when they die. Some people may not know how to do it, or are unaware they haven't done so. For some, circumstances have changed, or nominees may have passed on.

The Ministry of Law should make this process easier, faster and smarter, especially in a country as connected as ours. This would greatly help those who are not as savvy with technology and those who find the paperwork challenging.

Benjamin Chiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2019, with the headline 'Claiming CPF monies with no nomination a frustrating experience'. Print Edition | Subscribe