CPF Board responds to father's request to use funds to pay for his daughter's school fees

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board said that as the father "did not have sufficient CPF savings for a basic retirement, allowing him to use his CPF for his daughter's education is not appropriate". ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board responded on Friday (June 28) to a Facebook post put up by a father, who said he was disallowed from using his CPF funds for his daughter's education.

In his post on Wednesday, Lim Koh Leong recounted his experience when he talked to staff at the CPF Board that day.

Mr Lim said that despite having more than the necessary amount in his account to cover his daughter's fees, he was not allowed to use a portion of the funds because his salary did not reach the lowest deposit threshold.

"Right now in my CPF there is 70,000+, I only need 15,000 to pay for my daughter's school fees," he wrote.

Mr Lim said he was 60 years old and did not have a stable job.

When he asked if there was another way he would be allowed to use his hard-earned money, he said the CPF staff told him he can apply but his chance of withdrawing the money would be "zero".

He said he "felt cheated, humiliated, angry".

"Do I really have to resort to borrowing money and loans when I got my money in my CPF? Should I be forced to stop my daughter's education?," he asked.

Mr Lim's post garnered 3,000 shares and 1,400 comments, with netizens offering him financial advice and support for his situation. He also reposted his message in Chinese.

On Friday, the CPF Board responded to the post, and said that "as Mr Lim did not have sufficient CPF savings for a basic retirement, allowing him to use his CPF for his daughter's education is not appropriate".

The CPF Board added that the better approach is for Mr Lim to find other ways to finance his daughter's education.

"We have spoken to him and are discussing alternative options. The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts will also be in touch with him," its Facebook post said.

When asked to elaborate why Mr Lim did not have sufficient CPF savings, the CPF Board said on Sunday that those above 55 years old, like Mr Lim, would need to set aside a full retirement sum (FRS) in their retirement accounts before they can use the remaining savings in their Ordinary Account (OA).

Under the CPF Education Scheme, CPF members can pay tuition fees using their OA savings up to the available withdrawal limit.

The FRS can either be set aside fully with cash, or with cash and property, and this sum varies for each person.

It added that more information can be found on the CPF website.

With regard to their staff's conduct, the CPF Board said: "Having reviewed our video recording, we are satisfied that our staff had served Mr Lim calmly and professionally.

"Mr Lim explained he was upset and offered his apology which our staff has accepted."

On Saturday, Mr Lim said the issue over his daughter's tuition has been resolved with help from his loved ones. He also thanked those who had offered support.

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