CPF Retirement Schemes

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a flexible, multi-pronged retirement security plan that allows you many ways to save your money for future use. You can invest your savings in authorised schemes, life insurances and annuity plans; you can use the money to buy an HDB flat or private property; you can pay for the education of yourself, spouse or children; you can invest in targeted retirement schemes; and you can save for medical emergencies and health insurance plans.

But among all of these, the primary goal of the CPF is to ensure that you are able to lead a comfortable retirement life with the help of your own savings during your employment years. The Retirement Account (RA) and CPF Retirement Schemes caters to these needs.

Benefits Of Retirement Schemes:

Retirement schemes under the CPF allow you a steady monthly income after you stop being employed. By forcing you to save money from your salary every month in the CPF accounts, the government is actually helping you keep up a good standard of living in your golden years.

Retirement-specific schemes usually start after your 55th birthday. The CPF will send you a ‘Reaching 55’ package a few months before you turn 55 in order to guide you towards the changes in CPF allocations and the new schemes that you can enrol in. It’ll also explain the money withdrawal process in case you want to make use of the Withdrawal at 55 scheme.

Eligibility Criteria For Retirement Schemes:

You become eligible for retirement schemes if:

  • You are 55 years old or more.
  • You are a Singapore citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.
  • For CPF LIFE schemes, you should have been born in or after 1958. You are eligible under 2 conditions:
    • If you turn 55 years old between January 1, 2013 and April 30, 2016, and have a balance of S$60,000 in your RA when you near your statutory retirement age OR a balance of S$40,000 in your RA when you turn 55.
    • If you were born in or after 1958, turn 55 years old after May 1, 2016, and have a balance of S$60,000 in your RA when you near your statutory retirement age.
  • You become automatically eligible to receive returns from the Retirement Sum Scheme if you are not enrolled in CPF LIFE, from your payout eligibility/retirement age.

Types of Retirement Schemes:

There are 3 main types of retirement schemes under CPF:

CPF LIFE: If you enroll in the CPF Lifelong Income for the Elderly (LIFE), you will get monthly payouts until your death, irrespective of how many years after your retirement you draw from it. From May 1, 2016 onwards, the scheme is compulsory for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents born in 1958 or after, with a balance of S$60,000 in your RA at the time of retirement. You can choose to start receiving the income from your CPF LIFE scheme anytime between ages 65 and 70. If you do not fall under the mandatory CPF LIFE bracket, you can voluntarily opt for the scheme any time before you are 80 years old. There are 2 kinds of CPF LIFE plans: LIFE Standard Plan and LIFE Basic Plan. Under the Standard plan, your monthly payouts will be higher than the amount you bestow to your nominees/heirs. With the Basic Plan, your monthly payouts will be lower that the bequeathed amount. The quantum of CPF LIFE payouts depends on whether your RA contains the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), Full Retirement Sum (FRS), or Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS).

Retirement Sum Scheme: This plan ensures that you receive a basic monthly income for a period of 20 years from your actual retirement age. You will be automatically placed on the Retirement Sum Scheme and to receive the monthly payouts, you need to apply to the CPF Board instructing them to start disbursement. The amount you receive every month from the payout eligibility age depends on whether you set aside the BRS, FRS or ERS in your Retirement Account. The higher the amount reserved in the retirement account, the larger the payouts will be.

Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme: This scheme is a part of the Retirement Sum Scheme, and through this, you can add extra funds to the CPF accounts of yourself or of your kith and kin, and ensure a higher monthly payout in the future. You can top-up the accounts through cash – which is tax exempt up to a limit – or by transferring CPF savings – which is not tax exempt.

CPF Withdrawal at 55 years:At the age of 55, the government allows you to withdraw money from your Ordinary and Special Accounts, after keeping aside the basic/full/enhanced retirement sum. The withdrawal rules differ according to your year of birth, but you can withdraw S$5,000 from the account even if you haven’t been able to set aside your FRS or BRS alongside adequate property pledge. However, the government tries to encourage people not to withdraw any money, but keep it safe instead for future income. The CPF ‘Reaching 55 package’ will give you further information.

Applying For Retirement Schemes:

To join CPF LIFE, you can follow any of the below options:

  1. Log in to myCPF Online Services and submit an application through ‘My Requests’.
  2. Go to any of the CPF Service Centres with a completed Form LID-APP(1) (Application for CPF LIFE) and a copy of the NRIC.
  3. Download and complete Form LID-APP(1) and send it via snail mail to:

Central Provident Fund Board

Lifelong Income Department (LID)

238B Thomson Road

#08-00 Tower B Novena Square

Singapore – 307685

  1. If you are already covered under CPF LIFE but want to purchase a CPF LIFE annuity by adding money to your retirement account, you need to download and fill up Form LID-APP(1A): Application for Additional Annuity Under CPF LIFE, and send it to the above address.

To request the CPF to start monthly payouts under the Retirement Sum Scheme:

  1. Log in to myCPF Online Services and submit an application through ‘My Requests’.
  2. Download and complete Form RSS/30: Application for Monthly Payout Under the Retirement Sum Scheme, and mail it to:

CPF Board

Retirement Schemes Department (RSD)

238B Thomson Road

#08-00 Tower B Novena Square

Singapore – 307685

To apply for withdrawal of money from the CPF accounts:

  1. Log in to myCPF Online Services and submit an application through ‘My Requests’.
  2. Send the completed Form RWD-55: Application for Withdrawal for Members 55 and Above, and send it using snail mail to:

Central Provident Fund Board

Retirement Withdrawals Department (55-WDL)

238B Thomson Road

#08-00 Tower B Novena Square

Singapore – 307685

  1. If you live abroad, you also need to attach photocopies of your bank passbook/statement (if applicable) certified as true by a Notary Public/an Official from the Singapore High Commission/the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore.

CPF retirement schemes are aimed at creating self-sufficiency among people who have stopped working at the statutory retirement age, so that they can live on their own savings rather than having to depend upon your children or other relations.  

Central Provident Fund
CPF Accounts
CPF Schemes
CPF Withdrawals
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