The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has announced the updated details for its i-Sinar facility, which was expanded to cover more than eight million contributors following the winding down speech of Budget 2021 by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
Here are the highlights of the revised i-Sinar facility by the EPF:
How much can you withdraw?
As before, the withdrawal amount allowed for i-Sinar is still subject to the member’s Akaun 1 balance, but the criteria have been updated to the following:
- Contributors with RM100,000 and below in their Akaun 1 are allowed to withdraw up to RM10,000, with payments to be disbursed over a maximum period of six months. The first payment provided is up to RM5,000.
- Contributors with more than RM100,000 in their Akaun 1 can withdraw a maximum of 10% of their Akaun 1 savings, up to RM60,000 (whichever is lower). The amount will also be disbursed over a maximum of six months, with the first payment being up to RM10,000.
Note that all withdrawals are also subject to maintaining a minimum balance of RM100 in Akaun 1. Here’s a summary from the EPF to help you better understand the mechanics of the i-Sinar facility:
Prior to this, the criteria for i-Sinar stated that members with RM90,000 and below in Akaun 1 will have access to any amount up to RM9,000. Meanwhile, those who have above RM90,000 can access up to 10% of their savings (capped at RM60,000).
Who can apply?
Aside from updating the withdrawal amount allowed, the latest statement from the EPF on i-Sinar also cleared up some questions regarding the facility’s eligibility criteria. While it was previously limited to members who have lost their jobs, are on unpaid leave, or have no other source of income, the facility has now been expanded to include those who fall under the two following categories:
Members who fall under Category 1 include workers in the formal sector, self-employed workers or workers in the gig economy, housewives, as well as those who have not contributed to the EPF in a while, lost their jobs, and had to take unpaid leave.
Those in this category are eligible to withdraw from i-Sinar if they meet either one of these two criteria:
- Have not contributed to the EPF for at least two consecutive months on application; OR
- Still working, but base salary was reduced by 30% or more starting from March 2020
Members in Category 1 are not required to present any supporting documents during their application, and approval is automatic based on the EPF’s internal data. Applications for the facility for this group will open on 21 December 2020, and members can apply online via the i-Sinar website.
Payments for approved applicants will be disbursed starting from mid-January 2021.
Meanwhile, Category 2 encompasses those who saw a reduction of 30% and more in their total income, including base salary and other benefits (such as allowances and overtime), starting from 1 March 2020. These reductions must be verifiable via supporting documents.
According to the EPF, members who fall under this category will need to provide the following supporting documents during their application:
- Salary slip before and after reduction of income
- Employer’s notice of suspension or reduction of allowances and/or overtime claims
If you’re unable to provide these documents, however, the EPF is also willing to consider other relevant documents, including bank statements or a written acknowledgement from employers.
Members who fall under Category 2 can start applying online via the i-Sinar website starting on 11 January 2021, and they will be notified about their application status within two to three weeks after their submission. The EPF also clarified that payments will be carried out before the end of the following month, after the application has been approved.
To ensure a smooth application process for the i-Sinar facility, members are advised to register for i-Akaun, as well as update their mobile number at an EPF kiosk or counter to receive the Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC) required. Additionally, they need to also make sure that their bank account number is active as payments will be directly credited to your account.
Given the current financial challenges faced by many Malaysians, the i-Sinar facility can come across as a timely financial aid. However, it is crucial that individuals who tap into the facility remember that there are certain implications to be considered, such as potentially missing out on compounded returns.
As such, do think twice before submitting your application for the i-Sinar facility. If your options are severely limited, however, then head on over to the EPF’s i-Sinar website for more information.