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Early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the ground of terminal illness to become effective next month

The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) reminds Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme members that the early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the ground of terminal illness will come into effect on 1 August 20151.
 
Starting from that day, under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Ordinance), if a registered medical practitioner or a registered Chinese medicine practitioner (collectively referred to as “doctor” below) is of the opinion that the scheme member has an illness that is likely to reduce the member’s life expectancy to 12 months or less, the doctor may issue a medical certificate to the member to facilitate the member’s application for the early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the ground of terminal illness. There is no specific list of diseases that are considered to constitute terminal illness. The medical certificate must be submitted within 12 months of the date of issue.
 
Scheme members can obtain from their trustees the application form and the medical certificate form which their doctor must fill in. The completed application form and medical certificate form should be submitted to the respective trustees direct, together with a copy of the applicants’ identity document. The trustees will pay members the MPF benefits within 30 days of the date on which members submit all the required documents. If members have MPF accounts in different MPF schemes, they must submit an application to the individual trustee of each scheme.
 
Scheme members should note that withdrawal of benefits derived from voluntary contributions (if any) is subject to the governing rules of the MPF scheme concerned. If members continue working after applying for the early withdrawal of their MPF benefits on the ground of terminal illness, MPF contributions for each subsequent wage period will continue to be paid into their contribution accounts under current employment. If they wish to apply for the early withdrawal of these contributions, they must submit another application to their trustees.
 
The MPFA has prepared a new leaflet publicizing the new arrangement. The leaflet can be obtained at MPFA offices, the Home Affairs Department, the Labour Department, the Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs of the Trade and Industry Department, the Consumer Council and the Inland Revenue Department. It has also been distributed to people and organizations which may come into contact with terminally ill scheme members in their daily work, such as patient groups, social workers, insurance agents and MPF intermediaries, so that they can offer assistance to members in need. The MPFA has also produced another leaflet targeting doctors to explain the key points of the new measure. The two leaflets are available on the MPFA website.
 
Some other new amendments will also come into operation starting this August. One of the amendments is the removal of the requirement for scheme members who apply for the early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the ground of total incapacity to obtain confirmation letters from their former employers certifying the termination of their contract of employment.
 
In addition, to simplify the MPF administration process, the MPFA will no longer issue a “participation certificate” to employers when they join an MPF scheme. However, employers will receive a “notice of participation” from the trustee. Employees will also receive a “notice of participation” from the trustee after joining an MPF scheme. This “notice of participation” will replace the “notice of acceptance” and “membership certificate” currently issued by trustees.
 
Under the Ordinance, MPF benefits may be paid to scheme members only when they reach the age of 65, unless under specified conditions. The conditions, after the amendments come into operation, are:

  1. early retirement at the age of 60 or above;  
  2. permanent departure from Hong Kong;
  3. total incapacity;
  4. terminal illness;
  5. a small balance of not more than $5,000 in an MPF scheme, with no MPF benefits in any other MPF scheme; and as at the date of claim, at least 12 months having elapsed since the member’s last contribution date; or
  6. death (the accrued benefits will be regarded as part of the member’s estate to be claimed by the personal representative of the deceased member). 
The MPFA has published a new leaflet on the grounds for the early withdrawal of MPF benefits, explaining the criteria, application procedures and key points to note. This leaflet has been uploaded onto the MPFA website.
 
-Ends-
 
27 July 2015


1From 1 August 2015 onwards, scheme members who joined MPF-exempted Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance registered schemes after the inception of the MPF System can also apply for the early withdrawal of the minimum MPF benefits (MMB) on the ground of terminal illness. Details of the MMB are available on the MPFA website.

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Last Review Date: 27/07/2015