Elderly Folk May Misunderstand ‘CPF Payout At 65’ Clause
Lengthy government letters often come with big words that leave even us millennials begging for a tl;dr.
If we’re already struggling to read such letters, imagine your ah ma or ah gong trying to understand them.
They might overlook the important details that often stand separately like disclaimers at the end of an ad.
An elderly man who read his CPF payout letter extremely closely went through that predicament on Tuesday (15 Jan).
Automatic payout at 70
The elderly man received a letter advising him to prepare for retirement.
Since he’s turning 65 in May 2019, he expected the letter to inform him of the payout rates he can expect.
Instead, he was instructed to take specific actions in order to receive his payout at 65, or else wait till he turns 70.
Thinking that the minimum age has been raised to 70, he questioned the government’s honesty.
Apply to withdraw at 65
The government raised the minimum age for CPF payouts to 65 in 2018, since retirement and re-employment ages are higher at 62 and 67 respectively.
This way, older workers who stay longer in their jobs can keep earning and withdraw their CPF at a later age.
But the man noted that this move is only common among white-collar workers and not those doing manual labour like cleaning.
Blue-collar workers are thus at a disadvantage if they don’t know that they have to apply to receive their payouts at 65.
The letter indicates that Singaporeans who want their payouts before turning 70 will have to inform CPF one month before their payouts start — a month before they turn 65.
Confusing for old folks?
That important piece of information is disclosed in a brief legal clause within the letter.
Though the line is in bold, there’s no guarantee that old folks reading the letter would read and understand the clause.
They’re more likely to read the first paragraph of the letter which lists the monthly payouts they can receive upon turning 65.
A form, which is also available online, is enclosed for those who wish to apply to receive payouts at 65. The other option is to apply online using “My CPF“.
They’ll need to submit an application — but the multiple channels available for them may only add to the confusion, especially for our pioneer generation.
Minimum CPF payout age is 65
Though she explained how the Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) works, she neglected to mention the need to opt in.
Yes, Singaporeans can get CPF payouts at 65, but only if they have applied to do so.
Those who don’t indicate their preference will only receive their RSS payouts automatically once they turn 70.
Detailed information on the RSS can be found on the CPF website.
Being an inclusive nation
The ageing population in Singapore forces us to reconsider our fast pace of change.
Our bid to become a “smart nation” while ambitious, could risk leaving the elderly behind.
We have to be more considerate towards them as they may need time to catch up.
Let’s hope that any future changes will be doled out in a more inclusive manner to avoid such misunderstandings from occurring again.