Oral Answer by Ministry of National Development on erroneous payments of CPF Housing Grants as highlighted in Auditor-General's Report for FY2020-2021
Sep 13, 2021
Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for National Development
(a) what caused HDB to make erroneous payments of CPF housing grants to ineligible applicants as highlighted in the Annual Report of the Auditor-General’s Office for FY 2020/21; and
(b) in what manner will HDB be improving its controls over the processing and assessment of CPF housing grants.
Applicants for CPF housing grants must declare all relevant information about themselves and the proposed occupiers of their HDB flats, as well as submit documentary proof of income, employment, and details of their ownership of private property, if any.
HDB assesses each application by manually verifying, amongst other things, the declared incomes against the documents submitted by the applicants and their occupiers, such as pay slips, employers’ letters, commission statements, CPF contribution histories and Notices of Income Tax Assessment. For ownership of private property, HDB will verify documents such as the Notice of Transfer, Transfer Instrument, and Sale & Purchase Agreement. The verification process is often complex, especially when flat buyers and their occupiers have multiple sources of income and/or property ownership, both local and overseas.
AGO checked a total of 22,627 resale applications with the Family or Singles Grant approved by HDB between 1 April 2018 and 30 September 2020. These applications involved a total of 47,808 applicants and occupiers. AGO found that HDB had disbursed grants to 13 applicants who did not meet the eligibility criteria. Of the 13 applicants, HDB has since verified that one applicant had in fact been correctly assessed for the grant disbursement. Further investigations revealed that the grants were wrongly disbursed for the remaining 12 applicants because the applicants had failed to declare material information such as their actual income and private property ownership to HDB. This omission was not detected in the verification checks.
HDB has taken immediate action to recover the grants that were disbursed to ineligible applicants, and is working to verify the eligibility status of the remaining 1,055 applicants flagged by AGO. HDB is also implementing process improvements and automating eligibility check processes. This will allow HDB to more efficiently and accurately assess the eligibility of the very many grant applicants that have stepped forward, even if they fail to declare any material information to HDB.