How Much of Your NS Allowance Can You Save During National Service?
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NS allowance in Singapore

How Much of Your NS Allowance Can You Save During National Service?

Ming Feng
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While not everyone enjoys serving National Service (NS).

It’s a statutory requirement for all male Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PR) to do so.

Throwing aside less well-thought-out comments on how National Serviceman’s service should not be measured in monetary value.

We recognise that time spent serving means a potential loss of income.

But as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

life gives you lemonade make lemons
Source: Giphy

Although you won’t be earning big bucks during NS.

Here’s a look at how much money you can potentially save if you planned and saved properly as an NSF.


TL;DR: You Can Save Up To $10,000 During National Service!

NS allowance in Singapore


The National Service (NS) Journey: Ah Boys to Men

Depending on your Physical Employment Standards (PES) and the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) results before enlistment.

You’ll be enlisted into either:

  • Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)
  • Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), or the
  • Singapore Police force (SPF)

The NS Journey for Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

If you’re enlisted into the SAF, you start with Basic Military Training (BMT).

Factors determining BMT's durationDuration of BMT
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
9 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fails IPPT)
17 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with BMI about 27.0)
19 weeks
PES B, C and E9 weeks

Note: the duration of your BMT depends on your PES status.

Assignment after BMTTraining durationWhat happens after
Officer Cadet School
(OCS)
38 weeksAssign to unit/ schools to assume position till completing National Service.
Specialist Cadet School
(SCS)
29 weeks
Vocation TrainingDepends on vocation

After BMT, you will then be assigned to either command school to receive leadership training.

If you’re selected to be an Officer, you’ll undergo a 38-week Officer Cadet Course in Officer Cadet School.

If you’re chosen to be a Specialist, you’ll undergo a 29-week training at Specialist Cadet School.

For those of you do not qualify for command school, you’ll be posted to a suitable vocation where you’ll learn specialised skills applicable to your vocation.

Once you’re done with your respective training, you’ll continue your NS journey.

The NS Journey for Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

If you get into the SCDF, your training kicks off with Basic Rescue Training (BRT).

Factors determining BRT's durationDuration of BRT
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
4 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fails IPPT)
12 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with BMI about 27.0)
12 weeks
PES B2 and C and E4 weeks

Note: the duration of your BRT depends on your PES status.

Assignment after BMTTraining durationWhat happens after
Rota Commander Course
(RCC)
28 weeksAssign to unit/ schools to assume position till completing National Service.
Specialist Cadet School
(SCS)
23 weeks
Vocation TrainingDepends on vocation

Once you finish your BRT, those who are chosen for command school will take a slightly different path.

If you’re selected to be an Officer, you’ll undergo a 28-week Rota Commander Course.

If you’re selected to be a Specialist, you’ll undergo a 23-week Section Commander Course.

For the rest, you’ll be sent to a school or unit to specialise in a certain vocational role.

After which you’ll all be sent to another school or your respective units to continue with your NS journey.

The NS Journey for Singapore Police Force (SPF)

Got enlisted into the SPF?

You’ll start with the Police Officers Basic Course (POBC).

Factors determining BRT's durationDuration of POBC
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
14 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fails IPPT)
22 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with BMI about 27.0)
22 weeks
PES B2 and C8-14 weeks

Note: same thing here, the duration of your POBC depends on your PES status.

Assignment after BMTTraining durationWhat happens after
Police National Service Officer Cadet Course (PNS OCC)29 weeksAssign to unit/ schools to assume position till completing National Service.
Vocation TrainingDepends on vocation

If you’re a potential Officer, you’ll undergo a 29-week Rota Commander Course to be trained as a National Service Probationary Inspector.

For the rest, you’ll be sent to a school to receive specialised vocational training.

Once you’re done, you’ll be posted to various departments or specialist units to continue with your NS journey.


So… What Is the Monthly Allowance in National Service?

You’re probably wondering this right now.

So let’s look at your monthly rank allowance.

Monthly rank and combat allowance for NS men in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

The monthly total allowance of an NS man in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) consists of their rank allowance and monthly combat allowance.

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankRank Allowance
Enlistees
Recruit or Private
(PTE)
$630
Lance Corporal$650
Corporal$700
Corporal First Class$740
Specialists
Specialist Cadet$720
Third Sergeant
(3SGT)
$950
Second Sergeant$1,050
Officers
Officer Cadet$910
Second Lieutenant
(2LT)
$1,150
Lieutenant$1,330

On top of rank allowance, NS men are given combat allowance every month, according to the vocation they are in.

The combat allowance is as such:

Category/ VocationCombat Pay Allowance
Commando
Naval Diver
Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence
Explosive Ordinance Disposal
$300
Aircrew
Armour
Guards
Infantry
Combat Medics & Officers
Specialist in Medical Response Force
Seagoing
$150
The rest of the combatants$100

Hence, the total amount which an NS man receives every month is the sum of his rank pay and his combat pay.

Monthly rank and risk allowance for NS men in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

The monthly total allowance of an NS man in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) consists of their rank allowance and monthly risk allowance.

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankRank Allowance
Recruit or Private
(PTE)
$630
Lance Corporal$650
Corporal$700
Specialist Cadet$720
Sergeant 1$950
Sergeant 2$1,050
Officer Cadet$910
Second Lieutenant
(2LT)
$1,150
Lieutenant$1,330

On top of the monthly rank allowance, selected NSFs will also be eligible to receive operational allowance ranging from S$100 to S$300.

The allowance is based on the vocation and unit they are deployed in.

Hence, the total amount which an NS man receives every month is the sum of his rank pay and his risk pay.

Monthly rank and vocation allowance for NS men in the Singapore Police Force (SPF)

The monthly total allowance of an NS man in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) consists of their rank allowance and monthly vocation allowance.

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankRank Allowance
Trainee$630
Special Constable 1 or Vigilante Corps 1$630
Special Constable 2 or Vigilante Corps 2$650
Corporal$700
Sergeant 1
(SGT 1)
$950
Sergeant 2
(SGT 2)
$1.050
Officer Cadet$910
Probationary Inspector (NSPI)$1,150
Inspector
(NSI)
$1,330

On top of rank allowance, NS men are given vocation allowance every month, according to the vocation they are in.

The vocation allowance is as such:

Category/ VocationCombat Pay Allowance
Airport Patrol Officer
Assistant Navigation Officer
Neighbourhood Police Centre Officer
Persons-In-Custody Officer
Police Coast Guard Officer
Police Tactical Trooper
Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) Officer
TransCom Deputy Team Leader
$150
Assistant Operations Officers
CCTV Operator
Division Security Officer
Dog Handler
Events Security Team Leader
Guard Commander
Medic
Operations Support Officer
Station Security Officer
$100

There is also meal allowance provided for the NS men in the Singapore Police Force. The rates are:

  • $100 for non-shift work
  • $142 for shift work lesser than 12 hours

Hence, the total amount which an NS man receives every month is the sum of his rank pay, his meal allowance and his vocational pay.


Medical Benefits That NSFs Are Entitled To

NSF Chao Keng Starter Pack
Source: me.me

Yep.

As an NSF, you’ll get medical benefits too!

Here’s where you can seek medical treatment during your NS life and how much it’ll cost you.

Where To Seek Medical AttentionHow Much Does It Cost?
Medical Centres in campsFree of charge
PolyclinicsFull subsidy
Public hospitalsFull subsidy

Unless hospitalised, cost will be at a subsidised cost, depending on your medical benefits scheme
Private hospitals and private clinicsMaximum reimbursement of $20 per visit.

(Subject to a limit of $350 per calendar year)

And if you suay suay (touchwood) kena hospitalised, here are the hospital ward classes you are eligible for:

RankAll other restructured hospitalsNational University Hospital
(NUH)
Recruit to Lance CorporalClass CClass C
Corporal to First SergeantClass B26-bed
Officer Cadet to LieutenantClass B1 and B2+4-bed

If you wish to upgrade your hospital ward, only the amount equivalent to the ward which you are eligible for will be subsidised.

The rates are 80% of the ward charges for you, and 50% for your dependant.

Dental Benefits That NSFs Are Entitled To

On top of medical benefits, you will also be able to receive free dental treatment at SAF dental clinics.

If you’re referred to a hospital for follow-up treatment or need surgery, you’ll pay a subsidised rate.

Under the SAF Dental Subsidy Scheme, you’re entitled to 85% reimbursement of expenses.

Note: this is only if your dental treatment was performed in an approved restructured hospital, polyclinic or private dental clinic.

There is, however, a $120 subsidy cap for each calendar year.


How Much Money Can You REALLY Save During Your NS Days?

Before we go on with the calculation of the money that you can save.

Here are some assumptions.

We assume that you follow the 50-30-20 Rule when allocating your NS allowance.

Seedly 50 30 20 Rule Budget Allocation

We’ll also assume that since you probably have little knowledge about investing, you’ll save a total of 50% of your allowance (wealth + savings combined).

To make things simpler, we’ll break the monthly allowance into weekly instead.

With these assumptions in mind, we look at a couple of scenarios and calculate how much you can save during your NS days.

How Much Can an NSF in the SAF Save During His NS Days?

Assuming a PES A/B1 NSF (serve a total of 1 year 10 months) serving NS in the SAF:

 Early part of NS
(BMT)
After BMTUnit/ SchoolTotal Allowance
Training DurationAllowanceTraining DurationAllowanceDuration till ORDAllowance
If he went to OCS9 weeks of training$1,417.5038 weeks of training$8,64537 weeks: Rank 2LT
8 weeks: Rank LTA
$14,422.50
(with $100 combat pay)

$14,985
(with $150 combat pay)

$16,672.50
(with $300 combat pay)
$24,485
(With $100 combat pay)

$25,047.50
(with $150 combat pay)

$26,735
(with $300 combat pay)
If he goes to SCS29 weeks of training$5,22054 weeks: 3SGT$14,175
(with S$100 combat pay)

$14,850
(with $150 combat pay)

$16,875
( with $300 combat pay)
$20,812.50
(with $100 combat pay)

$21,487.50
(with $150 combat pay)

$23,512.50
(with $300 combat pay)
If he continue in his vocation83 weeks: LCP$15,562.50
(with $100 combat pay)

$16,600
(with $150 combat pay)

$19,712.50
(with $300 combat pay)
$16,980
(with $100 combat pay)

$18,017.50
(with $150 combat pay)

$21,130
(with $300 combat pay)
#rowspan#

$1,417.50
75 weeks: LCP
8 weeks: CPL
$15,662.50
(with $100 combat pay)

$16,700
(with $150 combat pay)

$19,812.50
(with $300 combat pay)
$17,080
(with $100 combat pay)

$18,117.50
(with $150 combat pay)

$21,230
(with $300 combat pay)

Depending on your combat allowance, if you:

  • Went to OCS and became an officer, your total NS allowance ranges from $24,495 – $26,735
  • Went to SCS and became a sergeant, your total NS allowance ranges from $20,812.50 – $23,512.50
  • Went to a unit, your total NS allowance ranges from $16,980 – $21,230

And if you saved 50% of your NS allowance, you would have saved:

  • $12,247.50 – $13,367.50 if you went to OCS (read: I guess there’s more incentive to go to command school?)
  • $10,406.25 – $11,756.25 if you went to SCS
  • $8,490 – $10,615 if you went straight to a unit

What If I Want to Maximise My Savings?

Mr Krabs Money Eyes
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Ah…

If you are financially woke and would like to start saving for your future…

You’ll probably want to look for a high-interest savings account to get more out of your savings.

Not of age yet?

Don’t worry, we’ve found the best savings accounts for students too.

“What if I want to start investing,” you ask?

We gotchu fam.

You can always ask our friendly Seedly Community to find out more about how to start your investing journey.

And if you need a guide for all of this, you can always refer to our handy personal finance guide for NSFs.

Good luck!

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About Ming Feng
A stint in Bloomberg gifted me with a beer belly, which only grew larger when I moved on to become a Professional Trader. Now I turn caffeine into digestible finance-related content.
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