The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has revealed full details for the i-Sinar program which will allow eligible members to make withdrawals from Account 1. The i-Sinar program was introduced to assist members who are affected by the current pandemic situation. Affected members who wish to take out funds are able to apply online starting from 21st December 2020.
What has changed?
When i-Sinar was first announced in mid-November, it was supposed to be an advance facility where members are required to replace the full amount advanced by channeling 100% of all future EPF contribution to Account 1 until the advanced amount is replenished. It was initially targeted at 2 million EPF members that have lost their job or source of income.
The Finance Minister had announced last week that the i-Sinar program has been revised and expanded to cover 8 million EPF members and it would now include individuals who have accepted pay cuts or endure reduced income.
Interestingly, the i-Sinar program is now described as a withdrawal facility and it is no longer an advance. On top of that, the maximum withdrawal amount has been increased slightly and so is the eligible minimum amount required in Account 1.
Who can apply for i-Sinar?
From the latest announcement, there will be two categories for the program and it is open to EPF members aged below 55 years old.
The first category is meant for EPF members whose data can be verified based on EPF’s internal records. This is applicable to workers who have lost their jobs or given no pay leave in the formal sector and self-employed including those who work in the gig economy.
According to the EPF, below are the criteria for Category 1:
- Members who have not contributed to EPF for at least two consecutive months; OR
- Members who are still working but suffer a reduction of their base salary by 30% and above from March 2020 onwards.
For this category, supporting documents are not required and the approval is done automatically based on EPF’s internal data. Category 1 members can apply starting from 21st December 2020 and the payout will begin from the middle of January 2021.
The second category covers members whose total income has been reduced by 30% and above from March 2020 onwards which can only be verified with supporting documents. The total income includes the base salary and other benefits such as allowance and overtime pay.
To expedite the verification process, members are required to provide the following:
- Salary slip before and after the reduction of income; AND
- Employer’s notice of suspension or reduction of allowance and/or overtime claims.
Members that fall under Category 2 can only apply starting 11th January 2021. Members will be informed about the approval status within 2-3 weeks after submission of their i-Sinar application.
The payment will be done before the end of the following month after the application is approved. This means if your i-Sinar application is approved in January 2021, you’ll receive the first payout by end February 2021.
How much can you withdraw via i-Sinar?
As revealed previously, the maximum amount you can withdraw is dependent on your Account 1 balance. The calculation varies depending on whether you have more than RM100,000 or have RM100,000 and below savings in Account 1.
For members with RM100,000 or less in Account 1, you are eligible to withdraw up to RM10,000 while maintaining a minimum of RM100 balance. For the first payout, you can get up to RM5,000. The remaining balance will be staggered across the next 5 months.
For members with more than RM100,000 in Account 1, you can only withdraw 10% of your savings with a cap of RM60,000. You are eligible to get a maximum of RM10,000 in the first payout and the remaining amount will be staggered over the next 5 months.
According to the FAQ, members can choose to decide how much to withdraw in the first payout (subject to the maximum limit) and the subsequent payments must be at least RM1,000/month. For a clearer illustration, you can refer to EPF’s example below:
How to apply?
i-Sinar can only be applied online via the official portal at isinar.kwsp.gov.my. As warned earlier, do beware of fake i-Sinar apps circulating online and the EPF does not appoint any third party to handle the application.
As mentioned earlier, applications are open to Category 1 members from 21st December 2020, while Category 2 members can start applying on 11th January 2021. Members must have an active i-Akaun which can be activated at your nearest EPF branch or Kiosk using your mobile phone number.
Before applying, members must ensure that their contact details especially their mobile number is up to date. For the fund disbursement, members will be required to provide a bank account under your name (non-joint account) which is currently active.
You can check your EPF account balance and status through the official i-Akaun app which you can download from the following links: