SINGAPORE - Procedures are in place for Singaporeans who cannot work because of medical reasons to apply for early withdrawal of their retirement savings, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Wednesday.
Also in place are various government assistance schemes for the jobless and needy to tide over difficult periods and regain their financial independence, he added, citing the ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance which gives employment aid and cash allowances, among others.
Mr Tan said this in a written parliamentary reply to veteran unionist and Nominated Member of Parliament K. Karthikeyan, who had asked whether the ministry would consider letting those who are not re-employed after age 62 to draw down their Central Provident Fund monies until they find a job, or reach age 65, which is when they can receive the Minimum Sum payouts.
While the current CPF draw-down age is 63, Mr Tan noted that this will rise to 65 by 2018. This would let Singaporeans - who are living longer - set aside enough in their retirement savings to meet their old age needs.
Meanwhile, the Government is working closely with tripartite partners to enhance employment opportunites for older Singaporeans, said Mr Tan. Employers have to offer re-employment to eligible employees from age 62 to 65, under laws set in 2012.
Almost all - 99 per cent - of private-sector local employees who turned 62 in the year ending June 2013 were offered re-employment. Of these, 98 per cent said ''yes''.
Mr Tan added that subsidies and job aid programmes, such as WorkPro, are in place for older Singaporeans who need help in finding a job.