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020723 Singapore NS Allowance

How Much of Your NS 'Pay' (Allowance) Can You Save During National Service?

profileMing 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 dollars and cents.

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

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

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 plan and save properly as a Full-time National Servicemen (NSF).


TL;DR: NS Pay Guide for NSFs ‚ÄĒ You Can Reasonably Save ~$13,000 During National Service!

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

And if you saved 38% of your NS allowance, you would have saved the following:

  • $9,727 – $12,975 if you went to OCS (Editor’s note: I guess there’s more incentive to go to command school?)
  • $8,273 – $11,484 if you went to SCS
  • $6,428 – $9,739¬†if you went straight to a unit.

Click to Teleport


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

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

Basically, you’ll pass IPPT if you score 61 points and above for these three stations:

Source: CMPB

If you score 61 points or below for the above stations, you will fail IPPT.

You’ll be enlisted into either of the:

  • 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 That Determine BMT DurationDuration of BMT
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
9 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fail IPPT)
17 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with a BMI of >27.0)
19 weeks
Other PES B, C & E9 weeks

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

Assignment After BMTTraining DurationWhat Happens After
Officer Cadet School
(OCS)
38 weeksAssigned to unit/ schools to assume position till completion of National Service
Specialist Cadet School
(SCS)
22 weeks & 1 day
Vocation Training (Combat, Combat Support & Combat Service Support vocations)Depends on vocation

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

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

If you’ve chosen to be a Specialist, you’ll undergo about 22 weeks of training at Specialist Cadet School (SCS).

Also, outstanding Specialist Cadets (SCTs) may be selected for more advanced courses, such as the Platoon Sergeant Course, or even a crossover to OCS.

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

You’ll continue your NS journey once you’re done with your respective training.

The NS Journey for Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

If you enter the SCDF, your training begins with Basic Rescue Training (BRT).

Factors That Determine BRT DurationDuration of BRT
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
4 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fail IPPT)
12 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with a BMI of >27.0)
12 weeks
PES B2 and C and E4 weeks
PES E5 days

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

Assignment After BMTTraining DurationWhat Happens After
Rota Commander Course
(RCC)
7 monthsAssigned to unit/ schools to assume position till completion of National Service
Specialist Cadet School
(SCS)
5 months
Vocation TrainingDepends on vocation

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

You’ll undergo a seven-month Rota Commander Course if you’re selected to be an Officer.

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

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

Afterwards, you’ll all be sent to another school or your respective units to continue 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 That Determine POBC DurationDuration of POBC
PES A/B1
(Pass IPPT)
14 weeks
PES A/B1
(Fail IPPT)
22 weeks
PES BP
(Obese with a BMI of >27.0)
22 weeks
PES B214 weeks
PES B and C8 weeks
PES E10 days

Note: same thing here: your POBC duration 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.

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So… What Is the Monthly Allowance for National Service?

You’re probably wondering this right now.

So let’s look at your monthly rank allowance.

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) NSF Allowance (SAF Salary): NS Recruit Pay and More

Good news for NSFs! ūüéČ

From 1 July 2023, NSFs in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF), and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will receive a $125 to $200 increase in their National Service (NS) allowance, which is equivalent to 10.9% to 21.7% increase to support NSFs :

Note: The revised NS allowance reflected above includes a minimum vocation allowance of $75. Additional vocational allowances paid to national servicemen in selected vocations (e.g. combat vocations) are excluded from this table.

The monthly allowance for SAF NSFs is broken down into components, rank allowance and vocation allowance.

NS Rank Pay for SAF NSFs Based on SAF NS Rank Structure

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankMonthly Rank Allowance (From 1 Jul 2023)
Enlistees
Recruit (REC) / Private
(PTE)
$680
Lance Corporal (LCP)$700
Corporal (CPL)$750
Corporal First Class (CFC)$790
Specialists
Specialist Cadet (SCT)$770
Third Sergeant
(3SG)
$1,000
Second Sergeant (2SG)$1,100
First Sergeant (1SG)$1,170
Officers
Officer Cadet (OCT)$960
Second Lieutenant
(2LT)
$1,200
Lieutenant (LTA)$1,380
Note:
NSFs receive a 5% increment for every 12 months that they serve in that rank. NSmen receive a 5 to 10 % increment if they satisfactorily complete an NS activity in the preceding work year

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

NS Vocation Pay for SAF NSFs

The vocation allowance is as such:

Category / VocationAdditional Monthly Vocational Allowance (From 1 Jul 2023)
Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence or Explosive Ordinance Disposal
Commando
Naval Diver
$500
Aircrew
Armour, Guards, Infantry
Combat Medics, Specialists or Officers in the Medical Response Force or deployed on the Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulances
Seagoing
$300
Rest of combatants not mentioned above$225
Service & Technical vocations

$75

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

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Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSF Allowance (SCDF Salary)

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

NS Rank Pay for SCDF NSFs Based on SCDF NS Rank Structure

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankMonthly Rank Allowance (From 1 Jul 2023)
Enlistees
Recruit (REC) / Private
(PTE)
$680
Lance Corporal (LCP)$700
Corporal (CPL)$750
Specialists
Specialist Cadet (SCT)$770
Sergeant 1$1,000
Sergeant 2$1,100
Officers
Officer Cadet$960
Second Lieutenant
(2LT)
$1,200
Lieutenant$1,380

NS Vocation Pay for SCDF NSFs

On top of the monthly rank allowance, selected NSFs will also be eligible to receive a monthly vocation allowance ranging from $75 to $500:

Category / VocationAdditional Monthly Vocational Allowance (From 1 Jul 2023)
Fire & Rescue Officer, Fire & Rescue Specialist, Fire Fighter in Fire Station and the Special Response Unit$500
Fire & Rescue Officer, Fire & Rescue Specialist and Fire Fighter performing instructor role in Civil Defence Academy/National Civil Defence Cadet Corps
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians in Fire Station
$300
Fire & Rescue Officer in Staff Department/Division HQ
K9-Handler in Search Platoon
Emergency Medical Technician performing instructor role in Civil Defence Academy
Provost
Infocomm Operator
$225
All Recruits
All Trainees and NSFs in Ops and Service Support Vocations not mentioned above
$75

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

Hence, the total amount an SCDF NSF receives monthly is the sum of his rank pay and risk pay.

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Singapore Police Force (SPF) NSF Allowance (SPF Pay)

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

NS Rank Pay for SPF NSFs Based on SPF NS Rank Structure

The rank allowance is as shown below:

RankRank Allowance
Enlistees
Trainee Special Constable (TSC) or Special Constable (SC)$680
Special Constable 2 (SC 2)$700
Corporal$750
Specialists
Sergeant 1
(SGT 1)
$1,000
Sergeant 2
(SGT 2)
$1,100
Officers
Officer Cadet$960
National Service Probationary Inspector (NSPI)$1,200
National Service Inspector (NSI)$1,380

On top of rank allowance, NS men are given a vocation allowance every month according to their vocation.

NS Vocation Pay for SPF NSFs

The vocation allowance is as such:

Category/ VocationCombat Pay Allowance
Police Tactical Trooper
Police Tactical Trooper (NSI)
$500
Assistant Navigation Officer
Checkpoint Security Officer
Division Special Taskforce Officer
Ground Response Force Officer
Police Coast Guard Officer
Protective Security Command (ProCom) Trooper
ProCom DOC Trooper
Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) Officer
TransCom Deputy Team Leader
Persons-in-Custody Officer
$300
Assistant Ops Officer
Community Engagement Officer
Division Security Officer
Dog Handler
Officer Cadet Trainee (OCT)
Ops Support Officer (NSOSO/Medic/SSO)
CCTV Operator
$225
Trainee Special Constable (TSC)
Assistant Compliance Manager
Assistant Manpower Officer
Assistant Trainer
Bandsman
Training Officer (Operations)
Operations Officer
Support & Technical Assistant
Staff Assistant
Staff Officer (Operations)
Training Development Officer
Assistant Training Officer
Communications Officer
$75

There is also a meal allowance provided for the NS men in the Singapore Police Force.

The rates are as follows:

  • For one tour of duty of 6 continuous hours: $8
  • For one tour of duty of 12 continuous hours: $16
  • For one tour of duty of 24 continuous hours: $24.

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

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NS Benefits: Medical Benefits That NSFs Are Entitled To

Source: me.me

Yep.

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

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

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 (Hokkien: unlucky), 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 your eligible ward will be subsidised.

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

NS Benefits: Dental Benefits for NSFs

On top of medical benefits, you can also receive free dental treatment at SAF dental clinics.

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

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.

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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 of my assumptions.

Ideally, you should be able to follow the 50-30-20 Rule when allocating your NS allowance:

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).

But more often than not, real life gets in the way, and you might not be able to save as much, especially if you are on a chao (Hokkien smelly) recruit’s pay.

A more realistic savings rate would be to look at Singapore’s personal savings rate (via SingStat), which is defined as the share of personal savings out of personal disposable income. For the first quarter of 2023, this rate stood at 37.6%. Let’s round that up to 38%.

Considering the 38% savings rate assumption, we look at several 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 (I.e. serve a total of 1 year 10 months) serving NS in the SAF:

 Initial Part of NS
(BMT)
After BMTUnit / SchoolTotal Allowance
1 Year 10 Months / 95.65 weeks
Training DurationAllowanceTraining DurationAllowanceDuration till ORDAllowance
If he went to OCS9 weeks of training Monthly REC allowance is $755$1,56038 weeks of training: OCT

Monthly OCT allowance ranges from $1,035 - $1,460 depending on vocation
$9,027 - $12,73338 weeks: Rank 2LT

Monthly 2LT allowance ranges from $1,275 - $1,700 depending on vocation

11.65 weeks: Rank LTA

Monthly 2LT allowance ranges from $1,455 - $1,880 depending on vocation
$15,010 - $19,853
[(2LT:$11,120 - $14,826) + (LTA: $3,890 - $5,027)
$25,597 - $34,146
If he goes to SCS22 weeks + 1 day of training: SCT

Monthly SCT allowance ranges from $845 - $1,270 depending on vocation
$4,294 - $6,454 64.51 weeks: 3SG

Monthly 3SG allowance ranges from $1,075 - $1,500 depending on vocation
$15,916 - $22,208$21,770 -$30,222
If he continue in his vocation12 weeks: PTE

Monthly PTE allowance ranges from $755 - $1,180 depending on vocation

74.65 weeks: LCP

Monthly LCP allowance ranges from $775 - $1,200 depending on vocation
$15,357 - $23,808
[(PTE:$2,079 - $3,249) + (LCP: $13,278 - $20,559)

$16,917 - $25,368
12 weeks: PTE

Monthly PTE allowance ranges from $755 - $1,180 depending on vocation

52 weeks: LCP

Monthly LCP allowance ranges from $775 - $1,200 depending on vocation

22.65 weeks: CPL

Monthly LCP allowance ranges from $825 - $1,250 depending on vocation
$15,617 - $24,068
[(PTE:$2,079 - $3,249) + (LCP: $9,249 - $14,321) + (CPL: $4,289 - $6,498)
$17,177 - $25,628

Note: Figures have been rounded up to the nearest dollar.

Depending on your combat allowance, if you:

  • Went to OCS and became an officer, your total NS allowance ranges from $25,597$34,146
  • Went to SCS and became a sergeant, your total NS allowance ranges from $21,770$30,222
  • Went to a unit, your total NS allowance ranges from $16,917$25,628.

And if you saved 38% of your NS allowance, you would have saved the following:

  • $9,727 – $12,975 if you went to OCS (Editor’s note: I guess there’s more incentive to go to command school?)
  • $8,273 – $11,484 if you went to SCS
  • $6,428 – $9,739¬†if you went straight to a unit.

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NS Pay FAQs

In addition, we thought it’ll be good to answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about NS Pay the internet is asking so the rest of us can benefit.

Is NS Pay Taxable?

Yes. Any income for services rendered by an individual is taxable. Currently, NSFs will have to file an income tax return if their annual income in Singapore (including other sources of income) is $20,000 or more.

NS Pay Dates

According to the folks over at the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the NS allowance is paid out on the 10th of every month.

Does NS Pay CPF

Speaking of allowance, you might be wondering if you’ll get Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions on your NS allowance. Sadly you won’t get that CPF bread as, according to CPF:

CPF contributions are not payable for full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) enlisted for national service under the Enlistment Act as they are not employed under a contract of service.

But if you are an NS man going for reservist, rest assured that you’ll still get CPF from your employer as MINDEF has stated that:

Employers should continue to pay their employee’s CPF contributions based on the total wages typically payable to NSmen in each calendar month, as though, as though they are not away for ORNS training.

Are There Bonuses in NS? If Yes, How Much?

In a similar vein, you would not be getting bonuses on your NS allowance as an NSF as you are not employed under a contract of service.

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What If I Want to Maximise My Savings?

Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Ah…

If you are financially woke and want 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?

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

We gotcha 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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