Woman gets letter 31 years after mum’s death to claim $2 in accrued interest left in CPF

Housewife Rahayu Mazlan, 51, received a letter from the Central Provident Fund Board on an outstanding balance in her late mother's account - 31 years after the death. PHOTO: RAHAYU MAZLAN

SINGAPORE - Thirty-one years after Rahayu Mazlan received payouts from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) following the death of her mother, the outstanding balance - under $2 - finally found its way to her.

The 51-year-old housewife had received a letter dated Oct 4 from the CPF Board stating that as part of its "regular reviews", it had found some leftover savings in her late mother's account since the last withdrawal in 1987.

CPF has asked her to submit a completed form and necessary documents by Nov 5 to claim it.

She had already obtained some money from CPF upon her mother's death in 1987.

In response to ST's queries, a CPF Board spokesman said that all of the deceased's CPF monies were disbursed within two months in 1987 - except for a "small residual amount" which had been retained for a specific housing-related transaction.

"This amount continued to attract interest until it was deducted several months later for the transaction. The interest accrued - which amounted to less than $2 - remained unclaimed," the spokesman added.

In a Saturday e-mail shared with ST, Madam Rahayu asked CPF how regular the reviews were given the long time taken to discover the balance, and sought an explanation.

A reply from CPF to her on the same day said: "We are currently looking into your enquiries and will respond to them soonest possible."

Speaking with ST, Madam Rahayu, who has five children and seven grandchildren, said that her mother, Madam Fatimah Mohamad, who worked as a production operator at a semiconductor firm, died of breast cancer at the age of 42.

As the only child, she was the sole nominee for her mother's savings as her parents had divorced in 1972 and her mother did not remarry.

After receiving the letter on Wednesday, she proceeded to the CPF branch the next day in Tampines to seek an explanation.

"I was just curious about what's going on. The officer at Tampines was very nice but could not answer my queries, and I didn't want to hold up people queueing up behind me," said the 51-year-old, adding that she thus shared the issue on social media, hoping to get to the bottom of the matter.

Her Oct 18 Facebook post has over 560 shares as of 4.45pm on Saturday.

The CPF spokesman said that the board makes every effort to disburse all unclaimed monies to beneficiaries.

"Hence, as part of our regular review of cases with unclaimed residual monies recently, our staff invited (Madam Rahayu) to make the claim," the spokesman added.

In line with CPF legislation, all outstanding CPF balances in dead CPF members' accounts will earn interest up to seven years from the date of death. Thereafter, interest payment will cease.

The CPF spokesman added: "We are in the process of contacting Madam Rahayu to explain the details to her. We are also reviewing the process of disbursing nomination monies to see how we can improve it further."

Correction note: This report has been edited for clarity.

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