Why are CPF criteria so stringent?

SINGAPORE - I refer to NTUC Income's reply ("NTUC Income explains why policyholder's claim was denied"; Wednesday) to Ms Wendy Tan's letter ("Disabled from waist down but insurance claim denied"; Tuesday).

The Dependants' Protection Scheme (DPS) is a national insurance scheme designed by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board and administered by NTUC Income and Great Eastern Life.

Under the scheme, a claim will be paid out if the policyholder dies or becomes permanently incapacitated such that he can no longer work.

Therefore, a person who needs a wheelchair to move around but is deemed able to do sedentary work does not qualify for a payout, as in Ms Tan's case.

Given that the DPS is a national scheme, should the criteria for making claims under permanent incapacity be so stringent?

Some policies by private insurers allow people who have lost the use of any two limbs, like Ms Tan, to make claims for total and permanent disability.

There is clearly an inconsistency between the CPF Board's definition of permanent incapacity and the insurance industry's definition of total and permanent disability.

The DPS aims to provide CPF members or their families with some money to tide them over in the first few years after the insured member dies or is permanently disabled. So making a claim should not be made difficult for them.

I hope the CPF Board will review and align its criteria to industry norms, or at least take a more flexible view.

 -Thomas Phua

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