Workfare Income Supplement Scheme

Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme is a Singapore government initiative which supports the income and retirement savings of older employees who earn low wages. The scheme was introduced in 2007 as a permanent part of the social security system.

Eligibility Criteria For WIS:

From 2014 onwards, the eligibility parameters for WIS is as mentioned below:

  • You should be a Singapore citizen.
  • Your average gross monthly income – including additional wages, overtime pay, allowances, etc. – should be S$1,900 or less. From January 1, 2017, the qualifying gross monthly income will be S$2,000.
  • You should be 35 years or older as on December 31 of the work year.
  • You should be working for at least 2 months in any 3-month period during a work year. This criteria ensures that an individual strives to remain in work and doesn’t depend on WIS.
  • Your residence should be in a property whose annual value is not more than S$13,000 as on December 31 of the preceding work year.
  • You should not own more than 1 property, even if you are married.
  • If you are married, the gross income of your spouse should not be more than S$70,000.
  • Even if you have worked on dual status – employed for a part of the year and self-employed for at least 1 month in a year – you can get WIS, depending on your gross earnings.
  • Persons With Disabilities can receive WIS benefits from the age of 13.

Benefits Of WIS:

WIS is meant to support you financially if your gross income is not good enough to meet your living needs. It also infuses money into your CPF accounts, thereby helping you save enough for your retirement needs as well. Here are some advantages of being part of the WIS:

  • You cannot claim WIS if you are unemployed. The purpose of WIS is to boost employability among older people and encourage them to work, even if it is at a low salary. Because of this, employers would find it easier to hire local persons suited to their job.
  • You receive income support as well as retirement savings support from the government.
  • Salaried persons will receive 40% of their WIS in cash – through transfer to your bank account or by cheque – and 60% in CPF accounts.
  • Self-employed persons will get 10% of their WIS in cash and the remaining in their Medisave Account.
  • All persons with disabilities – irrespective of their age – are also eligible for WIS if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • You can get WIS support even if you have dual status – both salaried and self-employed.
  • The maximum WIS support a person can get currently is S$3,500 in a year, which will rise to S$3,600 from January 1, 2017. The maximum payouts you can get (in 2016) as per your age are:
Your age Max. WIS payout for Self-employed Persons Max. WIS payout for Salaried Persons
35 - 44 S$933 S$1,400
45 - 54 S$1,400 S$2,100
55 - 59 S$1,867 S$2,800
60 and above S$2,333 S$3,500
Persons with disabilities from 13-35 years S$933 S$1,400

How WIS Works:

Your WIS payout depends on 3 important elements:

  1. Age: Though WIS is paid from age 35, it increases as you grow older.
  2. Employment status: Salaried persons get a higher WIS payment than self-employed persons. The self-employed receive 2/3rds of the amount that salaried persons are eligible for, because they do not have to make full CPF contributions.
  3. Income: When your earnings are very low compared to the ceiling of S$1,900, you will receive higher WIS payments as you earn more. But as you reach the higher end of the WIS wage limit, the payouts reduce as your income grows.

Salaried persons get the WIS payments every quarter in cash and CPF contributions, as per the schedule below. The frequency for salaried persons will be changed to a monthly basis instead of the quarterly mode, from January 1, 2017. Self-employed persons get their payments once a year.

For working from WIS payment date for employees
January to March 1 June
April to June 1 September
July to September 1 December
October to December 1 March of the following year

The allocation of WIS money to different CPF accounts is as given in the table below:

Age (Years) Ratio of WIS CPF
Ordinary Account Medisave Account Special Account
35 & below 0.6217 0.2162 0.1621
Above 35 - 45 0.3056 0.3611 0.3333
Above 45 – 50 0.2917 0.3750 0.3333
Above 50 – 55 0.2616 0.3692 0.3692
Above 55 – 60 0.4469 0.4468 0.1063
Above 60 – 65 0.2122 0.6363 0.1515
Above 65 0.08 0.84 0.08

How To Apply For WIS:

The important points to remember about receiving your WIS payouts are:

  • If you are a salaried person and your employer contributes to your CPF, you will automatically be enrolled into the WIS scheme based on your salary. If you earn more than S$50 per month, your employer is bound to pay CPF for you.
  • If you earn less than S$50 but make voluntary contributions to the CPF and meet the other parameters, you can write to the WIS office and request participation in the scheme.
  • If you are self-employed, you need to declare your Net Trade Income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) or CPF Board (if you do not receive any income tax return). You also need to make your Medisave contribution by March 31 of the following year to receive WIS on May 1.
  • Those with dual employment status – having worked both as an employee and self-employed in a work year – will be adjudged based on their eligibility under both the categories by the government. The WIS would be given on the salary income first, and only if you meet the criteria after calculating both the salaried and self-employed income. Those entitled to receive the WIS support will be notified. You will receive payouts for your employment period quarterly, and once you declare your Net Trade Income and pay the Medisave contribution, you will also get the WIS for self-employed persons in May of the following year.
  • If your employer has overpaid your CPF, and you have been disqualified from the WIS scheme because of that, you can write to the WIS Scheme office of the CPF Board with proofs such as salary slips and your NRIC and contact information.
  • Workfare notices and updates are put up regularly on the Workfare website. If you want to know how much WIS you are likely to receive, you can use the WIS Calculator on the site.

WIS Contact Information:

WIS office address:

Workfare Income Supplement Scheme

Tanjong Pagar Post Office

P.O. Box 830

Singapore – 910822

Contacting CPF:

  • You can send an email to [email protected]
  • You can call CPF hotline at 1800-222-6622 from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5.30pm.
  • Visit the CPF Service Centres and speak to the customer service executives.
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