National Service in Singapore — NSF Ranks, Pay and Other Benefits
I’ve obviously never served National Service (NS), but from what I gather, it’s pretty serious business. I’ve seen my male peers transform from innocent Ah Boys to grown-up Men who can drink, smoke, cuss in fluent Hokkien… and of course, learn and train how to defend the country.
NS is a rite of passage in every Singaporean man’s life. Whether you’re a soon-to-enlist teen, an over-protective mum or just a kaypoh person, here’s a useful guide to the Singapore NS pay scale (i.e. the monthly allowance), as well as the medical, dental and insurance coverage benefits NSFs are entitled to.
About National Service (NS) in Singapore
First of all, what exactly is NS? For non-Singaporeans (or other cave people) who may be reading this, NS is a mandatory conscription to the Singapore Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) or Singapore Police Force (SPF). Here’s a timeline of the NS journey.
(If you already know this, feel free to skip to the next section.)
1. Full-time National Servicemen (NSF)
- Compulsory for all male Singaporeans and PRs
- To enlist at 18 years old
- 2 years of training, including 3 months basic military training (BMT)
2. Operationally ready national servicemen (NSman)
- Includes SAF national servicemen who have completed NS, and currently serving their 10-year ORNS training
- Required to attend ICT (up to 40 days a year)
- Required to attempt and pass IPPT
- Can be activated to report to Mobilisation Centre
- Must apply for Exit Permit if travelling for more than 6 months
3. MINDEF Reserve
- After completing the NS training cycle
- Usually no reservist, but can be mobilised in emergency or war
- You complete NS upon reaching age 40 (non-officers) or 50 (officers)
For this article, we are zooming in the first 2 years of NS. During this time, all NSFs are given a monthly allowance for their service. They’re also covered by insurance and have various medical and dental benefits.
- NSF pay for Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)
- NSF pay for Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
- NSF pay for Singapore Police Force (SPF)
- NSF medical benefits
- NSF dental benefits
- NSF insurance coverage
NSF pay scale for SAF, SCDF and SPF
As mentioned, all NSFs are given a monthly allowance for their service. How much you get depends on whether you end up with the SAF, SCDF or SPF, as well as your rank and vocation.
SAF NSF pay
For those in SAF, your NSF allowance is made up of your monthly rank allowance and monthly combat allowance.
NSF monthly rank allowance
|Rank||Starting rank allowance|
|Recruit or Private (PTE)||$560|
|Corporal First Class||$670|
NSF monthly combat allowance
|Category||Who||Monthly combat allowance|
|Combat A||All combatants except those under Combat B and C||$100|
|Combat B||Aircrew, Armour, Guards, Infantry, Combat Medics, Officers or Specialists in the Medical Response Force, Seagoing||$150|
|Combat C||Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence or Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Commando, Naval Diver||$300|
SCDF NSF pay
For SCDF NSFs, your allowance depends on your rank only. That said, depending on your vocation and unit, you may also be eligible for operational allowance ($100 to $300).
|Rank||Starting rank allowance|
|Recruit or Private (PTE)||$560|
SPF NSF pay
For SPF NSFs, you will get your monthly rank allowance + monthly vocation allowance.
SPF NSF monthly allowance
|Trainee Special Constabulary Constable or Trainee Vigilante Corps||$560|
|Special Constabulary Constable or Vigilante Corps||$560|
|Special Constabulary Constable 2 or Vigilante Corps 2||$580|
|Special Constabulary Constable or Vigilante Corps Corporal||$630|
|Special Constabulary Sergeant 1||$880|
|Special Constabulary Sergeant 2||$980|
|National Service Probationary Inspector||$1,080|
|National Service Inspector||$1,260|
SPF NSF monthly vocation allowance
|Operation vocations||Monthly vocation allowance|
|Assistant Operations Officer, CCTV Operator, Community Engagement Officer, Division Security Officer, Dog Handler, Medic, Operations Support Officer, Station Security Officer||$100|
|Airport Patrol Officer, Assistant Navigation Officer, Division Special Task Force Officer, Neighbourhood Police Centre Officer, Persons-In-Custody Officer, Police Coast Guard Officer, Protective Security Command (ProCom) Trooper, Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) Officer, TransCom Deputy Team Leader||$150|
|Police Tactical Trooper, Special Operations Command (SOC)||$300|
After you graduate from the Home Team Academy, you will also receive $100 (non-shift work) or $142 (shift work) for meal allowance.
NSF medical benefits
As with any respectable job, all NSFs are entitled to medical benefits during their 2-year gig.
|Medical benefit entitlement|
|In-house medical centre||Free|
|Public / restructured polyclinics||Free|
|Public / restructured hospitals (upon referral)||Subsidised according to your medical benefits scheme|
|Private clinics and hospitals||Up to $20 per visit (capped at $350 per year)|
In camp, you can receive free medical treatment at the in-house Medical Centre. If you’re referred to a public hospital for follow-up, it will be subsidised (according to your medical benefits scheme).
If you are an outpatient, you can go to public hospital or polyclinic for free too. But do note that if you 1) don’t have a referral, 2) were referred by a private doctor or 3) are referred to a consultant by name, then you’ll need to pay for your first visit.
If you want to go to a private clinic or hospital, you can only claim up to $20 per visit; capped at $350 per calendar year. Unfortunately, TCM clinics are not included.
If hospitalisation is required, NSFs are entitled to 80% subsidy of the hospital ward and meal charges, and 100% subsidy of the treatment charges.
This is only for restructured hospitals, for the NSF’s eligible ward (based on rank).
|Rank||Ward eligibility at NUH||Ward eligibility at all other restructured hospitals|
|Recruit to Lance Corporal||Class C||Class C|
|Corporal to First Sergeant||6-bed||Class B2|
|Officer Cadet to Lieutenant||4-bed||Class B1 and B2+|
If you want, you can upgrade your ward class. However, your subsidy will stay the same so you’ll need to pay more (because it costs more). You can check the adjusted rates in this table by CMPB.
For married servicemen, the benefit is extended to your wife and children too, but you’ll need to get a Civil Service Benefits Card from the unit’s S1. Most of the medical benefits are the same, except the hospitalisation subsidy for ward and meal charges (for dependents, it is 50% instead of 80%).
If you get hurt on the job, it is considered a service injury, and your treatment will be fully paid for. If needed, you’ll be covered by MINDEF/SAF even after you ORD.
Don’t say I say lah, but these benefits are really quite shiok. Many NSFs take this chance to seek treatment for whatever conditions they may have, however trivial.
It’s heavily subsidised and got MC, who don’t want?
NSF dental benefits
NSFs also receive free dental treatment at SAF dental clinics. If it’s beyond the useful clean-up stuff and you need to be referred to a restructured hospital for a follow-up, you will be subsidised.
Under SAF Dental Subsidy Scheme, you are entitled 85% reimbursement (capped at $120 per calendar year) at any dental clinic, including private ones.
You can claim for all types of dental treatment, except those involving precious metals. So if you make say, a gold crown, you’ll have to pay for that out of your own pocket.
NSF Aviva insurance coverage
On top of the medical and dental benefits, NSFs are covered by $150,000 group term life and $150,000 group personal accident insurance coverage. It’s free during your service (the premiums are paid for by MINDEF), but if you want to continue with it after the 2 years, you can do so for just a few dollars per year.
Additionally, if you super kiasu, you can also pay for add-on riders to increase your coverage (Voluntary Scheme). You can get extra coverage for critical illnesses and disability, but it’s entirely optional and you will need to pay for it.
There’s quite a bit to talk about, and we’ve covered the key details more comprehensively in a separate article: NS Insurance in Singapore – How Much Coverage Do NSFs Get with MINDEF/MHA Group Insurance?
What do you think of the NS allowance scheme? Tell us in the comment below!