Lower top-up requirements for elderly housing schemes

Lower top-up requirements for elderly housing schemes

SINGAPORE - Elderly Singaporeans will need to top up less of their net sale proceeds and will get more in cash when they participate in the Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) and Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS).

The Government has enhanced both schemes in response to public feedback. The new schemes will be implemented from Feb 1 next year.

Minister for National Development Mr Khaw Boon Wan said, "We need to strike a balance between improving retirement adequacy by requiring a meaningful top-up to the CPF, and keeping the schemes attractive by allowing adequate cash proceeds. We received several good suggestions from the public on how such a balance could be better achieved. We believe the enhancements will enable more Singaporeans to take advantage of the schemes."

Silver Housing Bonus

The Government lowered the top-up requirement to $60,000 per household (subject to a $100,000 cap on cash proceeds for those who have not achieved the prevailing Minimum Sum (MS)). Furthermore, the $20,000 bonus will now be given fully in cash.

The SHB provides additional help to lower-income elderly households households who right-size (for example, after their children have moved out to their own homes) from a larger flat to a smaller flat, and use their net sale proceeds to enhance their retirement income.

When the SHB was first announced at Budget 2012, elderly households were required to use all net sale proceeds to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts (RA) up to the prevailing MS, which could amount to as much as $278,00 on a household basis. The Government would give a $20,000 bonus to the household - $15,000 cash and $5,000 CPF top-up.

With the changes, most elderly households who right-size to a smaller flat would now be able to top up their RA with $60,000 and receive the full $20,000 cash bonus. Those who right-size to a Studio Apartment should generally be able to retain $100,000 of proceeds in cash after the top-up.

An eligible elderly household can qualify for the SHB of $20,000 in cash if lessees use their net sale proceeds to top up their CPF RAs. The amount to top up will depend on the amount of net sale proceeds:

a) If the net sale proceeds is between $60,000 and $160,000, it will need to use $60,000 to top up any lessee's RA. The household will be able to retain the remaining proceeds of up to $100,000 in cash.

b) If the net sale proceeds is above $160,000, it will need to use $60,000 to top up any lessee's RA. The household will be able to retain proceeds of $100,000 in cash. The remaining proceeds will be used to further help the lessee with the lowest RA balance meet the prevailing MS.

Households who are unable to top up the full $60,000 into their RA, because their net sale proceeds is below $60,000 or they would exceed the prevailing MS if they do so, will receive a $1 cash bonus for every $3 they could top up.

Lessees in the SHB household will use their full RA savings to buy a CPF LIFE plan if they have at least $40,000 (if below age 65) or $60,000 (if aged 65 to 79) in their RA after the top-up.

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