SINGAPORE: A national scheme to ensure that Singaporeans have enough money in their CPF savings to see them through their old age is nearly finalised.
After getting views from both experts and the general public, the Longevity Income Committee – headed by Professor Lim Pin – drew up the details.
Key among recommendations to the government is to bring forward the payout age and to make provisions to refund money to the family when the CPF member dies.
Prof Lim said: "If you take 85 (years old) as a kind of end point, how many Singaporeans will live beyond 85? That's the key issue. After 85, the en masse payout ends.
"Roughly speaking, one in two will still be alive at 85. Where will the money come from? You need an income stream. The idea is to provide you an income stream for the whole of your life."
For a start, the "National Longevity Insurance Scheme" will be renamed the "National Lifelong Income Scheme".
Prof Lim said he cannot reveal too many details as the report has yet to be endorsed by the government. But he hinted that the committee has suggested ways to make the premium fully refundable so that members can get back the capital sum.
Following public opinion for the payout to begin earlier, the committee is proposing that the payout starts at the age of 80.
As for concerns that the scheme is being made compulsory, Prof Lim said: "Initially, there was unhappiness about 'government taking my money and doing something else with it' and all sorts of wild talk. But now we are saying we are ensuring you lifelong income. That is a very big undertaking."
Another recommendation, which is also based on public feedback, is for the scheme be operated by the CPF Board.
Prof Lim said the task ahead for the CPF Board is an onerous one where they would have to educate Singaporeans about the various options available in the scheme so that they could gain the maximum benefit.
The committee has gathered feedback from a wide spectrum of the population, from young working adults to older workers, grassroots leaders, unionists and insurance practitioners.
Details of the scheme are expected to be out before Budget Day on 15 February.