SINGAPORE - A total of 440,000 people will be able to receive matching amounts of up to $600 annually for cash top-ups made to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) retirement accounts, under a new scheme which kicks off this year.
They make up about 53 per cent of CPF members between 55 and 70 years old, said the CPF Board on Wednesday (Jan 6).
The Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, which was announced last year, aims to help more older CPF members attain the basic retirement sum.
It allows anyone, including family members, employers or members of the community, to make top-ups to a person's retirement account.
Each dollar of cash top-up will be matched by the Government for the next five years, capped at $600 per year.
Top-ups can be made on the CPF website or the mobile app. They also do not have to be made in a lump sum. This means that small and regular top-ups throughout the year using Giro can also receive the matching grant.
CPF Board chief executive Augustin Lee said: "About half of CPF members turning 55 today have yet to attain the basic retirement sum. This matching grant by the Government will encourage them to save more with CPF.
"There's no better savings interest rate than what CPF pays now. We hope their loved ones and the wider community can also pitch in. Even small amounts saved consistently can go a long way in securing CPF members' retirement needs."
Those who are eligible for the scheme must be between 55 and 70 years old, and have less than the basic retirement sum of $93,000 this year in their retirement account.
Other criteria include average monthly income, annual value of their residence and property ownership.
Eligible members will be notified by the CPF Board this month. They can also check their eligibility on the CPF website.
The CPF Board is also partnering grassroots leaders to encourage the community to help build up the retirement savings of those who are vulnerable or unable to make the top-ups themselves.
For instance, donors from the Bukit Timah constituency pitched in to help 100 residents. The first batch of cash top-ups were made on Wednesday.
Adviser to Bukit Timah Grassroots Organisations Sim Ann said: "CPF top-ups are very effective to enhance retirement adequacy for Singaporeans.
"Not everyone might have the cash to do the top-up. This is the reason why I feel there is a part for kind strangers to play in this process. And I think that this is also about giving early, as well as giving smart."
Ms Sim, who is also the Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development, made a top-up to the account of Madam Salmiah, 62, a hawker.
"I'm so glad that now I have more savings for when I'm older," Madam Salmiah said.
Another beneficiary is Mr Lau Eng Kwee, 67, who was a hawker but stopped work in 2019 owing to cancer. He has to support his wife and two adult children with learning disabilities.
He said: "My family depends on me so these CPF payouts are useful in helping me to go on. If the future payouts increase with the top-ups, it can help feed my family."
Bukit Timah Citizens' Consultative Committee chairman Kenny Sim, who also made a donation, said: "We saw a gap within the community because there may be people who are living hand to mouth and cannot make the top-ups. When we help them, we give them moral support and assurance that they are cared for."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction