CPF Board: Withdrawal application rejected because CPF member is not physically incapacitated from ever continuing in any employment

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) has finally sent an official letter to 56-year-old heart patient on 27 November rejecting his application to withdraw his own CPF fund on medical grounds.

Mr Sim Kay Chuan suffered from heart problems in 2015 and had an operation two years ago, leaving his heart’s left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) at 37% performance. The normal LVEF for a person ranges from 55% to 70%.

Due to his condition, he always feels weak, and the medicine that he takes to lower his blood pressure makes him susceptible to fainting spells even when walking.

Following his surgery, Mr Sim was told by the attending doctor that he is not to carry any weight more than 5kg and that he would not able to work for a long time.

In the two years since his operation, Mr Sim has tried applying for work but failed to secure any employment due to his medical condition. He could not take up jobs such as private hire driver either because of his tendency to feel giddy and possibly lose consciousness.

Mr Sim has since exhausted his savings as he is unable to work due to his medical condition for the past two years. That’s why he applied to withdraw his CPF of around $18,000 to ease his family expenses.

However, the authorities refused his application in an earlier letter in August 2019 on the grounds that he did not qualify the conditions.

According to the official website of the CPF Board, in order to apply to withdraw some of your CPF savings on medical grounds, they need to certify that you:

  1. are physically or mentally incapacitated from ever continuing in any employment; or
  2. have a severely impaired life expectancy; or
  3. lack capacity within the meaning of Section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the lack of capacity is likely to be permanent; or
  4. are terminally ill.

In the same August 2019 letter, CPF Board said that after checking with the doctor, Mr Sim is “not physically incapacitated from ever continuing in any employment” (emphasis ours), and therefore they are unable to process his application to withdraw his CPF Retirement sum.

November 2019 letter

In an attempt to persuade CPF to allow him to use his CPF fund, Mr Sim even visited Mr Patrick Tay, MP for West Coast GRC on several occasions to seek for his help.

Mr Tay then wrote an appeal to the CPF Board to look into this case.

Despite an appeal from Mr Tay and continuous requests from Mr Sim, the Board has once again rejected the man’s application to withdraw his CPF fund on medical ground.

“CPF members who are certified by an accredited doctor (from government restricted hospital, polyclinics or a specialist) to be physically incapacitated from ever continuing in any employment, have a severely impaired life expectancy or terminally ill, may withdraw some of their CPF savings earlier under Medical Grounds Scheme (MGS),” the Board stated in its latest letter.

It explained that Mr Sim’s own doctor from National Heart Centre (NHC) made two separate assessments and “certified that you (Mr Sim) are not unfit for employment and are suited for jobs that do not require physical exertion”.

Additionally, the Board also stated that it engaged two of its own doctors to look through his condition, and “both shared the same assessment as your own doctor that you did not meet the criteria for withdrawal from MSG”.

As such, CPF Board expressed that it is “unable to accede” to Mr Sim’s request for withdrawal.

“NHC will be reaching out to you regarding your outstanding bills, and application for financial assistance if needed. We are also aware that local community partners are assisting you. We will continue to work with relevant agencies to assist you,” the Board concluded.

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