Relaxation of asset limits for existing Old Age Living Allowance and Guangdong Scheme
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The asset limits for the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) will be adjusted upward starting from the first day of the month of the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017, a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department (SWD) said today (March 17). The relevant arrangement also applies to applicants aged 65 to 69 under the Guangdong (GD) Scheme.
The SWD spokesman said, "In the 2017 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the Government's proposal of relaxing the asset limits for the existing OALA from $225,000 to $329,000 for elderly singletons and from $341,000 to $499,000 for elderly couples, to benefit more elderly persons with financial needs."
The relevant asset limits also apply to applicants aged 65 to 69 under the GD Scheme (applicants aged 70 or above are not subject to a means test). The income limits for the existing OALA and the GD Scheme (i.e. $7,750 per month for elderly singletons and $12,620 per month for elderly couples) remain unchanged.
"Subject to the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 by the Legislative Council (LegCo), the above proposed asset limits will take effect on the first day of the month of the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 as the effective date," the spokesman added.
The spokesman said that elderly persons who meet the above financial limits and other eligibility criteria may, having regard to their individual circumstances and needs, submit application for OALA and the GD Scheme to the SWD starting from today. The SWD will process the relevant applications after the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 by LegCo, and disburse payments to eligible elderly persons as soon as possible.
The relevant payment of an application will take effect from the effective date, the date of application or the date on which the applicant meets all the eligibility criteria, whichever is the latest.
The 2017 Policy Address also proposed adding a higher tier of assistance under the OALA (Higher OALA). In view of various operational considerations, including the lead time for updating the computer system of the SWD for implementing the proposed enhancement, subject to the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 in the 2017-18 financial year, it is estimated that the Higher OALA will be implemented in mid-2018 at the earliest (while adopting the first day of the month of the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 as the effective date). The SWD will announce the actual implementation date and details in due course.
The spokesman added that persons who are eligible for social security payments (including those who benefit from the above proposed enhancements) on the date of the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2017 would be eligible for the one-off extra payment announced in the 2017-18 Budget. Recipients who have received one-off extra social security payments under other allowances will be granted the difference between the two rates.
The OALA was implemented in April 2013 with the objective of supplementing the living expenses of Hong Kong elderly persons aged 65 or above who are in need of financial support. The GD Scheme was implemented in October 2013 to provide Old Age Allowance, on a monthly basis, to eligible elderly persons aged 65 or above who choose to reside in GD to receive Old Age Allowance. As at end-December 2016, there were over 440 000 and around 15 000 elderly persons benefiting from the OALA and the GD Scheme respectively.
For enquiries, people may call 3595 0130 (OALA) and 3105 3266 (the GD Scheme), or browse the relevant webpages (http://www.swd.gov.hk/oala" target="_blank">www.swd.gov.hk/oala; http://www.swd.gov.hk/gds" target="_blank">www.swd.gov.hk/gds).
Published on: 2017-03-17
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