The severely disabled can access their own CPF savings early – but only $50-$200 per month, dependent on their Medisave balance

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The Ministry of Health announced that locals who are severely disabled may finally have early access to their own savings that are locked in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Medisave accounts, from 2020 onwards.

Making the announcement yesterday, the Ministry revealed that the new scheme will only be available to those aged 30 and above and that the individual applying to withdraws funds must have at least S$5,000 in their CPF account. Eligible CPF account holders may access their savings from their own account as well as their spouse’s account.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday that allowing Medisave withdrawals for severely disabled individuals will provide flexibility in planning for long-term needs: “We don’t really want them to consume services that are not really necessary; some of them might have informal care arrangements and will need some financial support to make sure these arrangements are affordable.”

Although many perceive this new move as a liberalisation of CPF withdrawals, the eligibility requirements and caps on withdrawals may hinder some from accessing their own Medisave savings even if they are severely disabled and need help.

According to MOH, CPF account holders must have a Medisave balance between $5000 to $20,000 and their spouses must have at least $5000 in their own Medisave accounts to be eligible to withdraw $50 to $150 from their own Medisave savings per month.

Those who have a Medisave balance that stands at or exceeds $20,000 can withdraw the maximum $200 per month. This maximum cap will apply to all severely disabled individuals who apply to withdraw their funds, even if they are supplemented by their spouse’s Medisave balance.

MOH cited that residents aged 65 and above have a median Medisave balance of $19,000, with nearly half having $20,000 or more and a quarter having $5,000 or less in their Medisave accounts.

It did not mention how much median Medisave balance a severely disabled individual in their thirties, who may not have been able to work, might have in their Medisave accounts.