In the Budget 2020, enhancements to the Silver Support Scheme were announced, which is one of the many policies to support elderly Singaporeans, including the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), healthcare subsidies, as well as Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation packages.
The enhancements expanded the number of eligible Singaporeans who qualify for the scheme, as well as increased the payouts they will receive. About 250,000 seniors are expected to benefit from the scheme in 2021 with payouts totalling $600 million.
According to CPF Trends, women and those who live in 1 to 3-room HDB flats form more than half of Silver Support recipients.
Here’s a look at how the Silver Support Scheme works, and how much (more) can eligible Singaporeans receive from it.
What Is The Silver Support Scheme?
Introduced in 2016, the Silver Support Scheme is designed to help the bottom 20% of seniors aged 65 and above who had low incomes during their working years, and currently have little to no family support.
This help comes in the form of a quarterly cash supplement and the scheme is administered by the CPF Board.
Enhancements announced in Budget 2020 will take effect from 1 January 2021 and mean that 250,000 elderly Singaporeans will be eligible for Silver Support Scheme payouts, significantly up from the current cohort of 150,000.
Eligibility Criteria For Silver Support Scheme
Singapore citizens aged 65 are eligible for the Silver Support Scheme if they meet all three of the following criteria: lifetime earnings (measured via CPF contributions by age 55), housing type, and level of household support (measured via household income).
Lifetime Earnings: Total CPF contributions (total sum contributed in Ordinary Account and Special Account, including amounts withdrawn for housing, education and investment) of not more than $70,000 by age 55. Self-employed persons should also have an average annual net trade income of not more than $22,800 when they were between the ages of 45 and 54.
From 1 January 2021, criterion for total CPF contributions by age 55 will be expanded from $70,000 to $140,000, while criterion of average annual net trade income of self- employed persons when they were aged 45 to 54 will be expanded from $22,800 to $27,600.
Housing Type: Live in a 1- to 5-room HDB flat; and do not own (or do not have a spouse who owns) a 5-room or larger HDB flat or private property or multiple properties.
There is no change to this criterion in this round of enhancements to the scheme.
Household Income: Live in a household with a monthly income per person of not more than $1,100.
From 1 January 2021, criterion for household monthly income per person will be expanded from $1,100 to $1,800.
How To Apply For Silver Support Scheme?
There is no need to apply for the Silver Support Scheme. The CPF Board automatically reviews the eligibility of Singaporeans of age 65 and above every year and those who qualify will receive a notification letter in December of the preceding year.
Given the intent of the Silver Support Scheme to help elderly Singaporeans who are among the least prepared for retirement, there will be some who are on the margins who don’t automatically qualify for the scheme, perhaps due to individual circumstances that don’t meet the qualification criteria. These Singaporeans can appeal to the CPF Board for a review of their case.
Note that since eligibility is assessed on an annual basis, seniors who currently don’t qualify for the scheme could find themselves qualifying in future, perhaps if their household income changes, or if they move to a smaller flat.
How Much Can Eligible Singaporeans Receive From The Silver Support Scheme?
There are two tiers of payouts depending on their household income – with recipients living in smaller flats and lower household monthly income receiving higher payouts.
In Budget 2020, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that payouts across the board will be raised by 20%.
Under the enhanced Silver Support Scheme, eligible Singaporean seniors receive between $180 to $900 per quarter, which works out to a substantial $720 to $3,600 in cash payouts over a year.
Source: Silver Support Scheme
Seniors aged 65 and above who are beneficiaries of the ComCare Long-Term Assistance (LTA) Scheme (formerly known as Public Assistance Scheme) will receive a payout of $360 per quarter. The ComCare LTA is for seniors who are permanently unable to work due to old age, illness or disability, have limited or no means of income, and little or no family support.
When And How Will Silver Support Scheme Payouts Be Made?
Silver Support Scheme payouts are made in advance of the quarter.
|Payout Date||For Period|
|31 December of the preceding year||January – March|
|31 March||April – June|
|30 June||July – September|
|30 September||October – December|
Thus, those who are newly eligible for the scheme will receive their first payout in December 2020. Eligible seniors who will be turning 65 each year will receive their first payout in advance of the quarter that their birthday falls on.
Payouts are made to the bank account seniors have registered with the CPF Board for the crediting of other government cash payouts, such as GST Voucher and Workfare.
Those who have not registered a bank account with the CPF Board can do so by logging into the Silver Support Scheme website using SingPass, visiting one of the CPF Service Centres, or completing and mailing this form to the CPF Board.
Otherwise, they will receive their quarterly payouts via cheques sent to their registered NRIC address.
Eligible Seniors Can Also Receive Additional Support Through The Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS)
Aside from the Silver Support Scheme, CPF’s Matched Retirement Savings Scheme can also help eligible seniors. As the criteria for MRSS are similar, most Silver Support Scheme recipients will qualify for the MRSS.
|Silver Support Scheme||Matched Retirement Savings Scheme|
|Aged 65 and above||Aged 55 to 70 (inclusive)|
|Total CPF contributions (total sum contributed in Ordinary Account and Special Account, including amounts withdrawn for housing, education and investment) of not more than $140,000 by age 55||CPF Retirement Account savings is less than the prevailing Basic Retirement Sum (the BRS for seniors turning 55 in 2021 is $93,000)|
|Live in a 1- to 5-room HDB flat; and do not own (or do not have a spouse who owns) a 5-room or larger HDB flat or private property or multiple properties.||Live in a residence with an Annual Value (AV) of not more than $13,000 and do not own more than one property|
|Live in a household with a monthly income per person of not more than $1,800.||Average monthly income of not more than $4,000|
Under the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, the government provides dollar-for-dollar matching to eligible seniors for voluntary CPF cash top-ups under the CPF Retirement Sum Topping-Up (RTSU) scheme, up to an annual limit of $600.
For seniors with family support, the MRSS can be a way to help our elderly loved ones prepare for a better retirement. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to do so – Step By Step Guide To Top Up Your CPF Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS).
This article was originally published on 20 March 2020 and updated to reflect new information.
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