Estate Planning

Is It True That In The Event Of Death, Our Beneficiaries Don’t Receive Interest Earned By Our CPF Retirement Account?

I have a question regarding interest earned by my CPF monies after joining CPF LIFE. Is it true that our beneficiaries will NOT receive the interests accumulated and that this interest goes back to the common fund for other CPF LIFE annuitants?

DollarsAndSense Answers:

Recently, there has been some confusion online on this issue, with some Singaporeans feeling shortchanged.

First of all, we need to understand what happens to our CPF Retirement Account (RA) monies:

At age 65 onwards, our RA monies will be used to “buy” into the CPF LIFE annuity scheme as premium payment. This money is pooled in the Lifelong Income Fund, which is used to provide payouts to all CPF LIFE members.

At no point in time did the CPF Board give any indication that interest earned by monies in your CPF Retirement Account goes into your account and can be left to your beneficiaries.

This has been how the CPF Board has always explained bequests for members on the CPF LIFE Scheme:

In fact, this is one of the differences between the Retirement Sum Scheme and CPF LIFE. In the old Retirement Sum Scheme, interest is paid into our Retirement Account Balances, and this amount is gradually drawn down during our retirement until nothing is left, and payouts stop.

Read Also: CPF LIFE VS Retirement Sum Scheme: What’s The Difference?

The key thing to remember, is that the original promise of CPF LIFE is still upheld. If we pass on early, our beneficiaries will be receiving at least the amount we put into CPF LIFE, minus the payouts we already received. If we outlive our initial Retirement Account balances, we will still be assured of monthly payouts for as long as we live.

And it is the pooled interest earned from the Lifelong Income Fund is what makes this valuable feature possible.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Understanding The “Benefit Illustration” Of CPF LIFE Payouts

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How To Claim CPF Monies Of Deceased Next-Of-Kin And How Long For The Money To Be Disbursed To Beneficiaries?

In the event a CPF member passes on, what is the process for the next-of-kin for claiming their deceased loved ones’ CPF monies?

How long will it take to process the payout, and in what form will the payout take? Is it a transfer to the next-of-kin’s CPF account?

DollarsAndSense Answers:

The first step would be to check with the CPF Board whether the deceased has made a CPF Nomination.

If they made a valid CPF nomination: the CPF Board will make the payout according to the instruction and type of nomination.

For Cash nomination (the default type), payment will be made via cheque or GIRO,  while nominee(s) under the Enhanced Nomination Scheme (ENS) will receive the CPF savings due to them in their CPF accounts. There is also a Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS) Nomination which provides monthly disbursements.

If they did not make a valid CPF nomination: The CPF Board will send the CPF money to the Public Trustee’s Office. Surviving family members will then need to make an application to claim the money.

The Public Trustee’s Office charges certain fees for handling and disbursing CPF moneies, as shown below:

Amount of CPF Monies Charge
For the first $1,000 2.400%
For the next $9,000 1.500%
For the next $240,000 0.750%
For the next $250,000 0.450%
For amounts in excess of $500,000 0.300%


There is a minimum fee of $15, which will be taken from the CPF money and cannot be waived.

According to the Public Trustee’s Office website, they will distribute the money within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of the full set of documentation from  beneficiaries.

Read Also: What Happens To Your CPF Savings When You Pass On?

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