More cash payouts for Silver Housing Bonus and Lease Buyback Scheme
Authorities are raising the cash bonuses of two housing monetisation schemes for the elderly, in response to public feedback.
The latest changes to the Silver Housing Bonus and Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme will see households having to put less of the sale proceeds from their flats, into their CPF accounts - a national pension scheme.
In return, they will get more cash.
Both schemes target the elderly poor, with little or no family support.
They have the option to monetise their HDB flats by down-sizing or cutting their lease periods.
The Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) offers a cash bonus for those who sell their flats and move to a 3-room or smaller unit.
With the changes, the CPF top-up requirement is down to $60,000, and the $20,000 bonus will be fully given in cash.
Previously, households were required to use all the net sale proceeds from their flat, to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts up to the prevailing Minimum Sum.
Analysts MediaCorp spoke to say the scheme may be more attractive to elderly Singaporeans who have no family support and need to boost their retirement funds.
But CEO of property firm PropNex Mohamed Ismail says many others may not find the CPF component attractive, even if the top-up sum is now lower.
"Especially so when they're older, well above 55 and 60, sometimes we want to keep money closer to our heart and our disposal. Therefore the only advantage I will see here is people who are thinking long term, and they think they're healthy and good enough and do not want to be in situations where they spend all their retirement savings due to temptations."
The Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), on the other hand, helps lower-income elderly persons living in 3-room or smaller HDB flats by allowing them to sell the tail-end lease of their flat to the government.
The LBS bonus is raised from $10,000 to $20,000, all in cash, for all households.
The eligibility criteria has also been relaxed to include ex-private property owners and those who've enjoyed more than one housing subsidy, amongst others.
At the same time, beneficiaries will be able to withdraw any excess proceeds in cash, after topping up their CPF Retirement Accounts to fixed amounts depending on their age.
Applications for both the Silver Housing Bonus and the Lease Buyback Scheme open on 1 February 2013.
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