Everything You Need To Know About EPF i-Sinar Facility

Category: Retirement

If you have lost your job or experienced a loss in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might want to consider applying for the EPF i-Sinar programme to support your finances. Here’s a quick guide to help you better understand the i-Sinar facility.



Many Malaysians have experienced job losses, salary cuts and forced unpaid leave since the implementation of the first Movement Control Order (MCO) last year. If you’re one of those who were affected and are in need of extra cash to pay off the debts and bills, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) i-Sinar programme can help you with that.

What is the EPF i-Sinar facility?

EPF i-Sinar or i-Sinar KWSP was announced as a part of the government scheme to support Malaysians who were financially hit by the pandemic, allowing eligible members to withdraw a set amount of funds from their respective accounts.

The EPF has allocated RM70 billion for the initiative, which is expected to benefit eight million members who can withdraw a maximum of RM10,000 or RM60,000, depending on their Account 1 balance. The i-Sinar facility is an extension of the i-Lestari programme which allows a monthly withdrawal of up to RM500 from Account 2, but is scheduled to end this March.

What’s the difference between i-Lestari and i-Sinar?

The i-Lestari is a withdrawal facility that is intended to help members meet their monthly financial needs during the COVID-19 pandemic period. It allows members to withdraw up to RM500 from Account 2 for a maximum 12-month period. This programme runs from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021.

i-Sinar, on the other hand, works as an advance facility on your retirement funds. The scheme allows you to withdraw a larger amount of up to RM10,000 (depending on your Account 1 balance), which can benefit those who need large funds upfront. Eligible members will receive an interim payment of up to RM1,000 from the total amount applied on January 26, 2021.

Do you have to replace the i-Sinar withdrawal amount?

Yes, members who choose to apply for i-Sinar are required to channel 100% future EPF contributions into Account 1 until the amount withdrawn is replenished. After that, the contributions will return to the status quo: 70% and 30% to Account 1 and Account 2 respectively.

Who is eligible for i-Sinar?

i-sinar-category-1i-sinar-category-2

Check which category you belong to and see if you’re eligible to apply. (Image source: EPF)

i-Sinar facility is divided into two categories which are Category 1 and Category 2. Below are the details for each category:

Category 1

  • Members who have not contributed to the EPF for at least two consecutive months
  • Housewives
  • Members who are self-employed and work in the gig economy sector
  • Members who have lost their jobs
  • Members who were given unpaid leave
  • Members who have lost their source of income
  • Members who are still working but their base salary has been cut by 30% or more since March 2020
  • No supporting documents required as the approval will be verified based on EPF data
  • Application began on  December 21, 2020
  • Disbursement started mid-January 2021

Category 2

  • Members who are still working and have experienced a reduction in overall income of 30% and above, including salary, allowances and overtime pay since March 2020
  • Supporting documents required:
    • Salary slips before and after the income reduction, and
    • A notice from employer, which states that allowances/overtime claims have been suspended or reduced
  • Application begins January 11, 2021
  • Disbursement starts the following month after approval


i-sinar-update

LATEST UPDATE:
EPF members below the age of 55 who applied for the i-Sinar facility will be given approval beginning March 8, 2021, including new applications received after that date (subject to their available Account 1 balance). The interim payment of RM1,000 implemented in January 2021 will be effectively stopped. Members who have not made any application for the i-Sinar facility and intend to apply during this transition period are advised to wait until the revised i-Sinar comes online on March 8. Read here for more info.

How much can you withdraw from EPF i-Sinar?

The actual amount that you can withdraw under the i-Sinar facility depends on whether you have more or below than RM100,000 savings in your Account 1. You can choose how much to withdraw in the first payout, but the subsequent payments must be at least RM1,000 per month.

a) Account 1 savings ≤ RM100,000

You can withdraw up to RM10,000 while maintaining a balance of RM100 balance in Account 1, The payments will be staggered across six months and you can receive up to RM5,000 for the first payout.

Account 1 balanceMaximum withdrawal amountFirst month payment
RM4,500RM4,400RM4,400
RM10,000RM9,900RM5,000
RM70,000RM10,000RM5,000
RM100,000RM10,000RM5,000

b) Account 1 savings > RM100,000

If you are in this category, you can withdraw up to 10% of your savings or up to RM60,000 – whichever is lower. The payments will be staggered across six months, and you could receive a maximum of RM10,000 for your first payout.

Account 1 balanceMaximum withdrawal amountFirst month payment
RM100,101RM10,000RM10,000
RM500,000RM50,000RM10,000
RM800,000RM60,000RM10,000

How to apply for i-Sinar?

how-to-apply-epf-i-sinar-infographic

Read more about the application procedure here.

How to check your i-Sinar application status online?

You can check your application status via i-Sinar official website on the “Semak Status Permohonan” (Check Application Status) webpage. Just key in your IC number and mobile number, then click “Semak Status” (Check Status).

If your application has not been approved, the following page will show “Permohonan Anda Sedang Diproses” (Your application is still in process).

Understand your financial situation before applying for i-Sinar

The i-Sinar facility can be useful for those who have lost their jobs, suffered from pay cuts and do not have sufficient funds to sustain their financial lives. Keep in mind that EPF is a scheme that provides monetary benefits to salaried employees after retirement. Therefore, the savings are initially meant to be withdrawn when members have reached the age of 55.

You should only utilise the savings for urgent basic needs. Before applying, check your current financial needs and try to look for other alternatives (if there’s any). Having a proper retirement strategy is a crucial step in helping you live a less stressful future in your older days.

If you need some help in making a decision, we suggest you check out this piece we did on the pros and cons of withdrawing your EPF money under the i-Sinar facility.

Related: MCO 2.0 Survival Guide: How To Be Better Prepared This Time

i-Sinar FAQs

The interim payment is the amount paid in advance to the Category 2 applicants while their applications are still in progress. Members must self-declare on their i-Sinar application that they have experienced a 30% and above income reduction. The declaration must be attached with supporting documents.

Applicants for the i-Sinar facility under Category 2 will receive an interim payment of up to RM1,000 from the total amount applied.

The interim payment will be made starting January 26, 2021. For members who have just applied for i-Sinar under Category 2, this interim payment will be paid within seven days from the date of application.

Latest update by KWSP (as of February 18): The interim payment of RM1,000 implemented in January 2021 will be effectively stopped.

An interim payment helps ease the financial burden and urgent needs of members, especially those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters in several states. If the self-declaration made in the application is false and is not supported by valid documents to prove a reduction in income, the applicant will stop receiving the payment.

Interim payment will be made via direct credit to the member’s bank account.

Applicants for the i-Sinar facility under Category 2 will receive an interim payment of up to RM1,000 from the total amount applied (subject to the savings balance in Account 1).

Here’s an example to better illustrate the interim payment:

a) Amina’s situation

She wants to make a withdrawal application of up to RM10,000* and chooses RM5,000 as the first payment. The payment for Amina’s application is scheduled as follows:

Interim payment amountRM1,000
1st paymentRM4,000
2nd paymentRM1,000
3rd paymentRM1,000
4th paymentRM1,000
5th paymentRM1,000
6th paymentRM1,000
Total paymentRM10,000*

* Subject to the savings balance in Account 1

b) Danial’s situation

He only has RM800 in his Account 1 and wants to withdraw RM700. The payment for Danial is scheduled as follows:

Interim payment amountRM1,000
1st payment
Total paymentRM700*

* Subject to the savings balance in Account 1 and members are required to leave a remaining balance of at least RM100 in Account 1 to continue enjoying benefits as EPF members.

a) Pay slip BEFORE overall income reduction;

Highest income within the last 12 months before the date of application (salary, fixed allowance, overtime allowance, other allowance, excluding bonus).

AND

b) Pay slip AFTER overall income reduction;

Current month or previous month income (salary, fixed allowance, overtime allowance, other allowance, excluding bonus).

OR

c) Other supporting documents to prove a reduction in income such as bank statements.

You must submit your i-Sinar application by June 30, 2021.

Yes. Even if you are receiving monthly payments from i-Lestari, you can still apply for the i-Sinar facility.