CPF just debunked a viral post claiming the payout age is now 70 – but netizens are upset they still have to apply for it

The viral post included a photo of a letter from the CPF Board about the  CPF Retirement Sum Scheme, with the bolded line “no action is required if you wish to start your payouts at age 70”.
Facebook/Leslie Terh

In response to a viral Facebook post wrongly claiming that the government had “quietly” shifted the CPF retirement payout age from 65 to 70, the CPF Board has come out to clarify that the payout eligibility age for the Retirement Sum Scheme is 65 for those born from 1954 onwards.

It added that this has not changed since it was announced in 2007.

A social media post on Jan 15 contained a photo of a letter sent from the CPF Board on the CPF Retirement Sum Scheme.

The letter had the bolded line “no action is required if you wish to start your payouts at age 70”. This resulted in confusion over the rules, as some netizens believed this meant that the eligible age for Retirement Sum Scheme payouts had been raised to 70.

Responding to media queries from The Straits Times, a CPF Board spokesman said such letters are sent to individuals approaching the eligible payout age of 65, and that they can start their monthly payouts by completing an application form with their bank account details or to apply online.

“They can apply to start their payouts any time between the ages of 65 and 70. If they do not wish to start payouts before age 70, they need not do anything” and “members who defer the start of their payouts will benefit from getting more retirement savings with the attractive interest that they earn on their CPF savings,” said the spokesman.

CPF added that historically, retirement payments were not automatic, and required the submission of an application form. This meant that some Singaporeans (presumably unaware of the need for an application) did not receive their payouts even after turning 70.

The spokesman said the CPF Act was amended in 2016 to allow for this automatic payout at the age of 70, which took effect in Jan 2018.

Those aged 65 to 69 still need to submit an application form to start receiving their payouts.

Despite the clarification, many netizens took issue with the fact that the CPF Board chose to start the automatic payouts for people at age 70, instead of 65 – and had created a system that can confuse the elderly.

Others said using Facebook to issue a clarification made it extremely hard for the message to reach the right audience – which is the elderly eligible for payouts.