It is heartening that Budget 2023 recognised the fact that our population is quickly ageing. Currently, one in six citizens are aged 65 and above, with the proportion increasing to one in four by the end of the decade.
Singaporean silvers can expect more help in the form of cash payouts, additional MediSave top-ups and other forms of assistance, announced Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong in his Budget 2023 speech.
These payouts and top-ups will defray rising expenses from inflation and higher goods and services tax (GST) rates.
Of particular interest is the continuation of schemes to enable employers to hire more silvers for both full-time and part-time jobs.
Under the SEC, companies that employ senior workers aged 55 and above (earning up to $4,000 monthly) are provided with wage offsets.
Additionally, the Part-Time Re-employment Grant – applications for which recently ended on Dec 31 last year – will also be extended until 2025. The grant provides funding support to employers that commit to a part-time re-employment policy for its eligible senior workers.
Having said that, more concerted effort is required to encourage employers to hire older workers on their merit. Apart from their experience and institutional knowledge, they bring a different mindset to the workplace.
Having gone through the mill, these older workers can play the role of being mentors to help mid-level managers as they develop their teams.
There’s little done now to educate companies on managing age discrimination, and organisations seem to be left to their own devices to figure out this aspect of their human resource management.
Many peers are also happy to work part-time not just for financial benefits, and there should be more policies to incentivise companies to recognise this trend. They have much to gain apart from the relative return which will result in lower business costs.
A 60-year-old today is generally in better health than a generation ago, due to healthier living and advancements in medical science.
Working also helps to keep the Silver’s mind active when they interact with younger colleagues. They continue on a lifelong learning journey, rather than come to a hard stop at 60 years.
Here is a summary of what silvers aged 55 and above can expect to receive in terms of payouts.
Click below for more in-depth information on the payouts and scheme adjustments from Budget 2023 that concern silvers.
As its name suggests, this one-off payout in Jun 2023 seeks to defray cost-of-living expenses for Singaporean silvers. This payment is new to Budget 2023 and separate from the one-off Cost-of-Living Special Payment that applies to all Singaporean citizens aged 21 and up.
The Cost-of-Living Seniors’ Bonus is available for Singaporean citizens aged 55 and above, who own one or less properties, live in a residential address that does not exceed an annual value (the estimated gross annual rent one can rent your property out for) of $21,000, and receives an annual assessable income (total income after deducting allowable expenses, deductions and donations) of not more than $34,000.
Singaporean silvers will receive the above payout in addition to the Cost-of-Living Special Payment of between $200 and $400.
Payouts from the five-year Assurance Package (aimed at defraying rising costs from inflation and the GST increase) are being doled out every Feb until 2025. This means silvers will receive three payments as below.
Like the Cost-of-Living payout, the seniors’ bonus is eligible for those aged 55 and above, who own one or less properties, live in a residential address that does not exceed an annual value of $21,000, and receives an assessable income of not more than $34,000.
Again, these are in addition to the Assurance Package cash payouts of between $100 to $600 yearly for every Singaporean citizen aged 21 and up until 2025.
Additional MediSave top-ups are also part of the deal. Expect a flat $150 for every Singaporean aged 55 and up every Feb until 2025.
Part of a new permanent scheme to help lower- and middle-income Singaporeans with expenses, particularly with items that incur GST.
Silvers aged 65 and above who own one or less properties, live in a residential address that does not exceed an annual value of $21,000, and receives an assessable income of not more than $34,000 is eligible for the annual top-up.
The MediSave payout amounts to $600 annually. It can also be used for influenza vaccinations and mammogram screening.
If you have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you can utilise it for medical conditions such as osteoporosis, asthma, diabetes and hypertension. The patient co-payment amounts to 15 per cent of the overall bill.
However, it is time for the Ministry of Health to review the list of vaccinations. Post-COVID, I have friends who have the problem of lower immunity, and this has presented itself in sicknesses such as shingles or chronic skin disorders.
The minimum CPF monthly payout for seniors on the Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) will be raised from $250 to $350 on 1 Jun to enhance retirement adequacy.
The RSS was the prevailing retirement scheme under the CPF Board, before CPF Life was introduced in 2009. Silvers under the RSS – i.e., those born between 1 Jan 1958 and 30 Apr 1961 – receive monthly payouts from 65 until savings in their Retirement Account (RA) run out.
Those on the RSS might want to study the potential benefits of opting into CPF Life instead. Doing so would grant us lifelong payouts, which is important as we silvers are living much healthier and longer lives nowadays.
CPF contribution rates for older workers will continue to rise in 2024, following previous adjustments on 1 Jan 2022 and 2023.
The increases are intended to aid with senior workers’ retirements and will therefore be fully allocated to their Special Accounts.
This means that silvers will receive a little extra in their retirement kitty.
The question is whether CPF contribution rates should be lowered from 31% to 22% at all, as senior workers age. After all, those with lower incomes might find the extra contributions useful when it comes to their eventual retirement.