What is the Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS)?

The Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) is an integral part of Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) system, designed to provide retirees with a steady income stream. 

By converting CPF savings into regular monthly payouts, the RSS ensures financial stability for retirees, helping them cover their living expenses. 

This guide explores the key aspects of the RSS, including eligibility, enrollment, how it works, types of retirement sums, and options for adjusting payouts and withdrawals. 

Understanding these components allows CPF members to make informed decisions about their retirement planning and maximize their financial security in their golden years.

What is the Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS)?

The Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) is a cornerstone of Singapore’s retirement planning framework, designed to provide a steady stream of income to retirees from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings. 

The purpose of RSS is to ensure that Singaporeans have sufficient financial resources to support their basic needs during retirement. 

By converting part of their CPF savings into monthly payouts, RSS helps retirees maintain a stable income flow. 

This scheme fits into the broader CPF framework by working alongside other CPF initiatives like CPF LIFE, providing multiple options for retirement income based on individual needs and preferences.

Eligibility and Enrollment

Eligibility for the Retirement Sum Scheme is determined by several criteria. 

To participate, an individual must be a CPF member who has reached the age of 55 and has set aside the required retirement sum in their Retirement Account. 

The required sum can vary, with different tiers (Basic, Full, and Enhanced Retirement Sums) providing different levels of monthly payouts.

Enrolling in the RSS involves a few straightforward steps. 

First, ensure that you have the required retirement sum in your Retirement Account. 

If your savings fall short, you can top up your account using savings from your Ordinary and Special Accounts, or through voluntary contributions. 

Once the required sum is set aside, the CPF Board will automatically commence monthly payouts from your payout eligibility age, which is currently set at 65. 

These payouts will continue until the savings in the Retirement Account are depleted, typically lasting about 20 years.

Here’s How the RSS Works

The Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) functions by converting a portion of a CPF member’s retirement savings into regular monthly payouts, ensuring a steady income stream during retirement. 

Here’s a detailed look at its mechanics:

  1. Mechanics of RSS:
    • When a CPF member turns 55, a Retirement Account (RA) is created. Savings from the member’s Ordinary Account (OA) and Special Account (SA) are transferred to the RA up to the applicable Retirement Sum.
    • Monthly payouts from the RA begin at the payout eligibility age, currently set at 65, and continue until the RA savings are depleted, typically for about 20 years.
  2. Calculation of the Retirement Sum:
    • The Retirement Sum is calculated based on the amount needed to provide basic monthly payouts that cover living expenses in retirement.
    • The government periodically adjusts the Retirement Sum to account for inflation and changes in the cost of living.
  3. Payment Structure and Frequency:
    • Monthly payouts are made directly to the retiree’s bank account.
    • The payout amount is calculated to last until the RA is depleted, ensuring consistent income throughout the retirement period.

Types of Retirement Sums

CPF members can choose from three retirement sum tiers, each offering different levels of monthly payouts based on the amount saved:

  1. Basic Retirement Sum (BRS):
    • Description: The BRS is the minimum sum that provides a basic level of monthly payouts.
    • Conditions: CPF members who own a property and pledge it for at least the BRS can opt for this tier.
    • Benefits: It requires the least amount of savings, making it accessible while still ensuring some income during retirement.
  2. Full Retirement Sum (FRS):
    • Description: The FRS is double the BRS and provides a higher level of monthly payouts.
    • Conditions: CPF members who do not pledge a property must set aside the FRS.
    • Benefits: Offers a more comfortable retirement with higher monthly payouts.
  3. Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS):
    • Description: The ERS is the highest tier, set at three times the BRS, providing the maximum level of monthly payouts.
    • Conditions: CPF members can voluntarily choose to set aside the ERS for higher payouts.
    • Benefits: Provides the greatest financial security and comfort in retirement, with the highest monthly payouts.

By understanding these tiers, CPF members can choose the level of savings and corresponding payouts that best meet their retirement needs and financial situation.

Payouts and Withdrawals

How and When Payouts Commence

Payouts under the Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) begin when a CPF member reaches the payout eligibility age, which is currently set at 65. 

Once a member turns 55, a Retirement Account (RA) is created by transferring savings from their Ordinary Account (OA) and Special Account (SA) up to the required Retirement Sum. 

The monthly payouts from the RA start at the payout eligibility age and continue until the funds in the RA are depleted, typically lasting for about 20 years.

Options for Adjusting Payout Amounts and Duration

CPF members have some flexibility in adjusting their payout amounts and duration under the RSS:

  1. Adjusting Payout Amounts:
    • Members can choose to defer their payouts beyond the payout eligibility age. For each year the payout is deferred, the monthly payout amount increases by about 7%. This option can be beneficial for those who continue to work past the age of 65 or who have other sources of income.
    • Members can also choose to receive higher payouts by opting for the Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) tier, which requires a larger savings amount in the RA.
  2. Adjusting Payout Duration:
    • While the standard payout duration is designed to last about 20 years, members can adjust the duration by choosing to defer payouts or by increasing the amount saved in their RA.
    • The payout duration and amount are calculated to ensure that the RA savings provide a consistent income stream throughout the retirement period.

Rules Regarding Partial Withdrawals and Use of Funds

  1. Partial Withdrawals:
    • CPF members are allowed to make partial withdrawals from their Retirement Account when they reach 55. They can withdraw up to $5,000 regardless of their balance, or any amount above the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) if they have sufficient property pledge.
    • Additionally, members can withdraw any remaining savings in their RA after setting aside the Full Retirement Sum (FRS) or Basic Retirement Sum with sufficient property pledge.
  2. Use of Funds:
    • Funds in the RA are primarily intended for monthly retirement payouts to ensure a steady income stream during retirement.
    • The RA savings can be used to pay for MediShield Life premiums, ensuring healthcare coverage during retirement.
    • The funds can also be used for other approved medical expenses, providing additional financial security for healthcare needs.

By understanding the options and rules regarding payouts and withdrawals, CPF members can effectively plan their retirement finances to ensure a secure and comfortable retirement.


The Retirement Sum Scheme (RSS) plays a crucial role in securing financial stability for retirees in Singapore. 

By understanding the mechanics of the RSS, the different retirement sum tiers, and the flexibility in adjusting payouts and withdrawals, CPF members can effectively plan their retirement. 

The RSS ensures a consistent income stream, helping retirees manage their living and healthcare expenses comfortably. 

By leveraging the benefits of the RSS, Singaporeans can achieve greater peace of mind and financial security, making their retirement years more stable and enjoyable.

Author Bio

Firdaus Syazwani is an entrepreneur and finance expert, renowned for founding DollarBureau.com, a platform dedicated to demystifying personal finance and insurance. Motivated by a personal experience that exposed the complexities of financial products, Firdaus has become a champion of transparency and informed decision-making in finance. His commitment to empowering individuals with clear, accurate financial information has established him as a trusted authority in the finance industry.

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