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- Social Security

FAQ

Social Security

  1. Will a CSSA recipient be eligible for assistance if he/she leaves Hong Kong?

  2. Is it necessary to report to the Social Welfare Department in case of changes in circumstances of the CSSA applicant or his/her family member(s)? 

  3. How can the CSSA applicant/applicant aged 75 or above of Higher Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) applies for medical fee waiving? 


Time-limited arrangement to disregard the cash value of insurance policies under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme (Disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies)

  1. What items are included for the asset test of CSSA?

  2. When will the disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies be implemented?  What are the eligibility criteria for the arrangement?

  3. What categories of CSSA applicants will benefit from the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies?

  4. Are the able-bodied applicants still required to produce relevant supporting document about their insurance policies?

  5. Will payments from insurance policies be disregarded under the disregarding arrangement?

  6. When will CSSA be payable, the earliest, to a person who is eligible for CSSA under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies?

  7. When will be open for CSSA applications under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies?

  8. How to acquire detailed information on the CSSA Scheme?

The second and third rounds of anti-epidemic measures – an arrangement of temporarily relaxing the CSSA asset limits applicable to able-bodied persons (temporary relaxation arrangement) (Issue date: November 2020)

  1. What is the objective of the CSSA?

  2. What are the eligibility criteria for CSSA?

  3. How long is the temporary relaxation arrangement?

  4. What categories of CSSA applicants/recipients will benefit from the temporary relaxation arrangement?

  5. What items are included for the asset test of CSSA? What are the asset limits under the temporary relaxation arrangement?

  6. If an applicant living with family member(s), may he/she apply for CSSA on individual basis?

  7. What are the types and rates of payment under CSSA?

  8. When will CSSA be payable, the earliest, to a person who is eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement?

  9. How to apply for CSSA?

  10. What supporting documents/information should be produced by the applicant and his/her family member(s) who are eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement?

  11. How long is the normal processing time for completing the CSSA application process? 

  12. How to acquire detailed information on the CSSA Scheme?

Raising the eligible age for the elderly CSSA from 60 to 65
(To be uploaded in due course)


Social Security
 
Q1: Will a CSSA recipient be eligible for assistance if he/she leaves Hong Kong?
 
A1: A CSSA recipient's temporary absences from Hong Kong will not affect the amount of assistance payable on condition that the total number of days of absence in a payment year (which is counted from 1 July to 30 June of the following year) does not exceed the permissible limit as follows :
 
(A) Recipients who are old or medically certified to be disabled : 180 days a year.
   
(B) Other recipients : 60 days a year. (If there are special reasons why these recipients have to leave Hong Kong for more than 60 days in a year, the permissible limit of absence from Hong Kong can be extended up to a maximum of 90 days at the discretion of Director of Social Welfare.)
 

(Note: Consideration can be given to disregarding a recipient’s absence from Hong Kong arising from paid employment outside Hong Kong on condition that there is documentary evidence to prove that working hours per month and earnings per month are no less than the prescribed level as defined by SWD.) 

Q2: Is it necessary to report to the Social Welfare Department in case of changes in circumstances of the CSSA applicant or his/her family member(s)?
 
A2: Any changes in the circumstances of a CSSA applicant or his/her family member(s) may affect his/her CSSA entitlement. Therefore, the applicant or his/her guardian/appointee should report immediately to the Social Welfare Department whenever there is a change in the information that has already been provided to the Department, which includes :
  • change in employment or change in income;
  • change in financial resources;
  • total value of assets exceeding the prescribed limit;
  • change in schooling conditions;
  • change in family conditions;
  • change in family expenditure;
  • absence from Hong Kong exceeding the permissible limits;
  • admission to or discharge from any residential institution; or
  • detention or imprisonment, etc.
 
Q3: How can the CSSA applicant/applicant aged 75 or above of Higher Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) applies for medical fee waiving?
 
A3: CSSA applicant and the eligible family member(s)/applicant aged 75 or above of Higher OALA are/is entitled to the waiver of medical charges at a public clinic or hospital (including the Accident & Emergency Department) during the eligible period of CSSA/Higher OALA.  Upon registration for medical treatment or admission to hospital, the CSSA applicant and/or eligible family member(s)/applicant aged 75 or above of Higher OALA should inform staff of the clinic or hospital that he/she/they is/are the recipient(s) of CSSA/Higher OALA; and produce valid identity document which was/were used for CSSA/Higher OALA application (e.g. Hong Kong Identity Card, Hong Kong Birth Certificate, Certificate of Exemption, Hong Kong Entry Permit, One-way Permit, Passport or Birth Certificate of other nations, etc.) according to the record in the Annex of “Notification of Successful Application”/“Notification of Revision of Assistance” (applicable to CSSA applicant) or “Notification of Successful Application”/“Notification of Revision of Allowance” (applicable to Higher OALA applicant), issued by the Social Welfare Department to CSSA/Higher OALA recipients.
 
Time-limited arrangement to disregard the cash value of insurance policies under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme (Disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies)
 
Q1: What items are included for the asset test of CSSA?
 
A1: Assets include capital assets of the applicant and his/her family members, including land/properties, cash, bank savings, cash value of insurance policies, pre-surrender/surrender value of annuity schemes, investments in stocks and shares, and other readily realizable assets in Hong Kong, Macao, the Mainland or overseas.

The value of an owner-occupied residential property is totally disregarded for the asset test in cases where there is any member being old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health, or where there is no able-bodied adult aged below 50.  Where there is an able-bodied adult aged below 50 in the family and no other member being old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health, the value of the property will be included for the asset test after a grace period of 12 months.

 
Q2: When will the disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies be implemented?  What are the eligibility criteria for the arrangement?
 
A2: The Social Welfare Department (SWD) will implement the time-limited disregarding arrangement for six months from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021 which is applicable to able-bodied CSSA applicants.  For able-bodied persons whose CSSA applications are submitted within the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021, the cash value of all insurance policies owned by these able-bodied applicants will be disregarded for the asset test during the one-year grace period.  

Besides, there will be NO disregarding arrangement for insurance policies purchased by/transferred to the applicant within one year prior to the date of application or on or after the date of application. 

 
Q3: What categories of CSSA applicants will benefit from the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies?
 
A3: All CSSA applicants of either singleton cases or family cases who are non-elderly able-bodied persons (including adult, single parent, family carer and child) will benefit from the arrangement.  The disregarding arrangement is only applicable to able-bodied CSSA applicants, excluding family members of the case or non-able-bodied applicants.
 
Q4: Are the able-bodied applicants still required to produce relevant supporting document about their insurance policies?
 
A4: All CSSA applicants/recipients must pass the asset test.  Depending on the circumstances of individual cases, SWD will ask the applicant and his/her family members to produce all proofs of assets during application/case review.  In this connection, under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies, applicants are still required to produce all asset proofs including documents of all types of insurance policies where the applicant and his/her family members are the policy owner, policy insured or beneficiary (e.g. insurance policy statements).  SWD will examine whether the insurance policies are acquired by the applicant within one year prior to his/her date of application to ascertain whether the disregarding arrangement is applicable to the cash value of those insurance policies.
 
Q5: Will payments from insurance policies be disregarded under the disregarding arrangement?
 
A5: The time-limited disregarding arrangement is only applicable to the cash value in the insurance policies.  According to the existing policy under the CSSA Scheme, monthly benefit payment received from any insurance policy on a monthly basis will be treated as monthly income, while refund of premium/lump sum payment withdrawn from insurance policies (e.g. withdrawal of cash value from insurance policies) will be treated as savings.  The above-mentioned payments will not be disregarded under the disregarding arrangement.
 
Q6: When will CSSA be payable, the earliest, to a person who is eligible for CSSA under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies? 
 
A6: Applicant and his/her family members who are eligible for CSSA under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies will be paid with CSSA payment from 1 April 2021 or from the dates of eligibility of individual members, whichever is the later.  Subject to meeting other eligibility criteria, CSSA will be payable to them up to the end of the grace period.  Upon the expiry of the grace period, case review will be required to assess the continued eligibility for CSSA of the cases. 
 
Q7: When will be open for CSSA applications under the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies? 
 
A7: SWD receives and processes CSSA applications in accordance with the established procedures. For those cases which are assessed to be eligible only after the implementation of the time-limited disregarding arrangement of cash value of insurance policies, SWD may put on hold of these applications until the disregarding arrangement comes into effect (i.e. on or after 1 April 2021). If the applicant and his/her family members meet the eligibility criteria of CSSA (e.g. satisfy the residence requirement, their income and asset do not exceed the prescribed limits upon the implementation of the disregarding arrangement), SWD will approve those cases in accordance with the established procedures.  
 
Q8: How to acquire detailed information on the CSSA Scheme? 
 
A8: For detailed information on the CSSA Scheme, you may download “A guide to Comprehensive Social Security Assistance” from the Homepage of SWD at https://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_comprehens/.
 

The second and third rounds of anti-epidemic measures – an arrangement of temporarily relaxing the CSSA asset limits applicable to able-bodied persons (temporary relaxation arrangement) (Issue date: November 2020)

Q1: What is the objective of the CSSA?

A1:

The CSSA Scheme provides a safety net for those who cannot support themselves financially.  It is designed to bring their income up to a prescribed level to meet their basic needs.
 
Q2 What are the eligibility criteria for CSSA?

A2:

To be eligible for CSSA, an applicant must satisfy the residence requirement, pass the financial tests (including income test and asset test), and meet the additional criteria for able-bodied adults (including unemployed able-bodied adults are required to participate in the Support for Self-reliance Scheme).
 
Q3: How long is the temporary relaxation arrangement?

A3:

As one of the second round of anti-epidemic measures, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) has temporarily relaxed the asset limits applicable to able-bodied persons under the CSSA Scheme by 100 per cent for six months from 1 June 2020 to 30 November 2020. Since the third round of anti-epidemic measures implemented by the Government include extending the aforesaid arrangement for another six months, SWD continues to relax the asset limits applicable to able-bodied persons under the CSSA Scheme by 100 per cent till 31 May 2021.  The relevant asset limits will be restored to the original levels starting from 1 June 2021.
 
Q4: What categories of CSSA applicants/recipients will benefit from the temporary relaxation arrangement?

A4:

CSSA singleton cases of able-bodied adult and family cases involving able-bodied adult(s) (including family cases with able-bodied single parent, family carer and child) will benefit from the temporary relaxation arrangement.
 
Q5:

 
What items are included for the asset test of CSSA?  What are the asset limits under the temporary relaxation arrangement?
 
A5:
Assets include capital assets of the applicant and his/her family member(s), including land/properties, cash, bank savings, cash value of insurance policies, pre-surrender/surrender value of annuity schemes, investments in stocks and shares, and other readily realizable assets in Hong Kong, Macao, the Mainland or overseas.

Where there is an able-bodied adult aged below 50 in the family and no other member being old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health, the value of an owner-occupied residential property will be included for the asset test after a grace period of 12 months.

The original asset limits under the CSSA Scheme and the relaxed asset limits during the 12-month period from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021 are as below :
 
 
  Asset limits
(from 1 February 2020 onward)
($) 
 
Relaxed asset limits
(during 12 months from
1 June 2020 to
31 May 2021)
($)
Single person cases
Able-bodied adult 33,000 66,000
Child, elderly person, disabled person or person medically certified to be in ill-health 50,000 Remains unchanged
Family cases involving any able-bodied adult
Able-bodied adults/children No. of such members Asset limit
($)
No. of such members Asset limit
($)
1 22,000 1 44,000
2 44,000 2 88,000
3 66,000 3 132,000
4 or above 88,000 4 or above 176,000
Elderly persons, disabled persons or persons medically certified to be in ill-health No. of such members Asset limit
($)
Remain unchanged
1 50,000
2 75,000
3 100,000
4 125,000
5 150,000
6* 175,000
Family cases involving no able-bodied adult
  No. of such members Asset limit
($)
Remain unchanged
2 75,000
3 100,000
4 125,000
5 150,000
6* 175,000

*$25,000 for each additional member

 
Q6: If an applicant living with family member(s), may he/she apply for CSSA on individual basis?

A6:

In general, family member(s) living with the applicant is/are required to apply for CSSA together with the applicant.
 
Q7: What are the types and rates of payment under CSSA?

A7:

CSSA payments can be broadly classified into three types, including standard rates, supplements and special grants.  The amount of assistance payable to applicant depends on the circumstances of household member(s).
 
Q8: When will CSSA be payable, the earliest, to a person who is eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement? 

A8:

Just like other CSSA applicants, applicant and his/her family member(s) who are eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement will be paid with CSSA payment from the date of application or the date of eligibility, whichever is the later.  Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, CSSA will be payable to them till the end date of the temporary relaxation arrangement (i.e. 31 May 2021) or the end date of eligibility for CSSA due to foreseeable change(s) in circumstances, whichever is the earlier.
   
Q9:  How to apply for CSSA?

A9:

A person can make an application directly to a social security field unit near to his/her place of residence by phone, by fax, by e-mail, by post or in person.  An application may also be made through a referral to SWD by another government department or a non-governmental organisation.  Upon receipt of an application, staff of the social security field unit will conduct investigation and verification of the applicant’s circumstances and information provided through office interview and home visit.
 
Q10: What supporting documents/information should be produced by the applicant and his/her family member(s) who are eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement?
 
A10:
Just like other CSSA applicants, depending on the circumstances of individual cases, applicant and his/her family member(s) who are eligible for CSSA under the temporary relaxation arrangement should produce the following documents :
  • Identity documents (such as Hong Kong Identity Cards (for those aged 11 or above), Birth Certificates (for those aged below 11) and Certificate of Exemption, etc.);
  • Marriage certificates or documents of divorce, if applicable;
  • Proofs of accommodation expenses (such as rent receipts, rent card, tenancy agreement, receipts of water & sewage charge, demands for rates and receipts of management fee, etc.);
  • Proofs of assets (including those in Hong Kong, Macao, the Mainland or overseas within a year prior to the date of application) (such as bank passbooks and bank statements showing the balance for the past year, time deposit receipts, insurance policy statements (including all types of policies where the applicant and his/her family member(s) are the policy owner, policy insured or beneficiary), documentary proofs of annuity schemes, stocks, proof of property/land ownership and other documentary proofs of valuable possessions, etc.);
  • Proofs of educational expenses (such as receipts of school fee and school bus fee, etc.) and student handbooks;
  • Travel documents (such as Passports, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Re-entry Permit, HKSAR Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, Hong Kong Entry Permit, Home Visit Permit and One-way Permit, etc.);
  • Proofs of income (such as Mandatory Provident Fund pay-records, pay slips and employer’s statement, etc.);
  • Medical follow-up cards/appointment slips, if applicable;
  • Proofs of financial relationship with other family member(s) (including parents and siblings); or
  • Other relevant documents as required by SWD.
Where necessary, SWD will make enquiries to the Director of Health/Chief Executive of Hospital Authority for medical reports, or to the employer/ex-employer of the applicant and his/her family member(s) for verification.  SWD will also seek information related to the applicant and his/her family member(s) from the Immigration Department, other government departments and organisations (including banks).
 
Q11:  How long is the normal processing time for completing the CSSA application process?  

A11:

Under normal circumstances, and if the applicant can produce all the necessary information, the application process can be completed within four weeks.
 
Q12:  How to acquire detailed information on the CSSA Scheme?

A12:

For detailed information on the CSSA Scheme, you may download “A guide to Comprehensive Social Security Assistance” from the Homepage of SWD at https://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_comprehens/#cssapub