CPF Board refutes claims that payout age raised

Netizens have raised concerns over a recently circulated letter from the Central Provident Fund Board, which some have misunderstood as the Government raising the default payout age from 65 to 70.
Netizens have raised concerns over a recently circulated letter from the Central Provident Fund Board, which some have misunderstood as the Government raising the default payout age from 65 to 70.PHOTO: ST READER

Eligibility age still 65 for those born from 1954 onwards, it says in response to online message

A message circulating online is wrongly suggesting that the Government has quietly shifted the "retirement payout age" from 65 to 70, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board said yesterday.

The payout eligibility age for the Retirement Sum Scheme is 65 for those born from 1954 onwards, and this has not changed since it was announced in 2007, it added.

The CPF Board was responding to a message that recently went viral on social media, claiming the Government had surreptitiously raised the payout age from 65 to 70.

The confusion was in relation to a letter CPF sends to its members who are approaching their eligible payout age.

A sentence in the letter said "no action is required if you wish to start your payouts at age 70", which gave some people the impression that the payout age was moved to 70.

Responding to media queries, a CPF Board spokesman said the letter was sent to CPF members to inform them that they can start their monthly payouts by completing an application form with their bank account details or applying online.

"They can apply to start their payouts any time between the ages of 65 and 70. If they do not wish to start payouts before age 70, they need not do anything", and "members who defer the start of their payouts will benefit from getting more retirement savings with the attractive interest that they earn on their CPF savings", said the spokesman.

If CPF members do not take any action, Retirement Sum Scheme payouts will automatically start at the age of 70.

The spokesman said the CPF Act was amended in 2016 to allow for this automatic payout arrangement, which took effect in January last year.

The CPF Board said that before this, some members did not start their monthly payouts even after age 70, as they did not apply to start their Retirement Sum Scheme payments.

 

The automatic starting of payouts at age 70 "helps to simplify the activation process for members so they can start to enjoy a retirement income from their CPF savings", said the spokesman.

Retiree Johnny Wong, 66, said the way the Retirement Sum Scheme is administered could be made simpler.

Payouts should be automatic when an individual turns 65, and he can have the choice to opt out if he does not want the payout yet, he added.

"There may be some who are illiterate or who may not understand how the current scheme works," Mr Wong said.

Yesterday, the CPF Board also took to Facebook to clear the air, explaining why the message circulating online was "untrue". It also encouraged users to share its Facebook post.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 20, 2019, with the headline 'CPF Board refutes claims that payout age raised'. Print Edition | Subscribe