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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?

Adjusting the Eligible Age for Elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) from 60 to 65

Impact of adjusting the definition of eligible age

  1. Will the adjustment affect able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1 February 2019?
  2. Will the adjustment affect disabled or ill-health persons?
  3. Who will be affected by the adjustment?  Will able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 not be granted any CSSA payment?
Details of the new arrangements
  1. What are the CSSA payments applicable to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64?
  2. Will recipients under the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (PCSSA) Scheme be affected?
Employment Support Supplement (ESS)
  1. What is the objective of the ESS?
  2. What is the amount of the ESS?
  3. Who will benefit from the ESS?  Who will not be eligible?
  4. Is it necessary for CSSA recipients to apply for the ESS?
Employment Support Services (EmSS)
  1. How does the Government assist employable CSSA recipients in seeking employment?
  2. Is a CSSA recipient receiving employment support services eligible for the ESS and the TFA under the EmSS at the same time?
  3. Is it compulsory for able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 affected by the new arrangement to receive employment support services?  If not, are they still eligible for CSSA?  If so, will their CSSA payments be deducted?

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/.

 


Adjusting the Eligible Age for Elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) from 60 to 65

Impact of adjusting the definition of eligible age

Q1: Will the adjustment affect able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1 February 2019?
 
A1: No.

All able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who are receiving elderly CSSA before 1 February 2019 will be “grandfathered” and will not be affected.  They can continue to receive elderly CSSA payments.

Able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA and subsequently left the CSSA net before 1 February 2019 can also receive elderly CSSA payments if they need to apply for CSSA again in future.
 
Q2: Will the adjustment affect disabled or ill-health persons?
 
A2: No.

The CSSA payments of all disabled or ill-health recipients will not be affected.  They will, regardless of age and whether they are new applicants or current CSSA recipients, receive CSSA payments which are higher than those applicable to able-bodied adults.  It is noteworthy that about 70% of current CSSA recipients aged between 55 and 59 are disabled or ill-health persons. 
 
Q3: Who will be affected by the adjustment?  Will able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 not be granted any CSSA payment?
 
A3: The adjustment is applicable to able-bodied adults who reach the age of 60 on or after 1 February 2019 and able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who have never received elderly CSSA before 1 February 2019.

All members of the public with financial needs are under CSSA protection.  The aforesaid able-bodied adults meeting the CSSA eligibility criteria will be entitled to payments as able-bodied adults under the CSSA Scheme.  Please refer to A4 for the assistance applicable to them.


Details of the new arrangements 

Q4:  What are the CSSA payments applicable to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64?
 
A4: Able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 (subject to the eligibility criteria for CSSA being met) will receive various types of CSSA assistance for able-bodied adults.  Details are as follows:
 
Item Amount
(as from 1 February 2021)
Cash assistance1
  1. Standard rates for able-bodied adults
$2,685 per month
(singleton rates)
  1. Employment Support Supplement
    (exclusive to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64)
$1,130 per month
  1. Community Living Supplement
    (already extended to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 who are not living in institutions) 
$360 per month
  1. Rent allowance
Up to $2,515 per month
(singleton rates)
  1. Telephone-related grant
    (only applicable to persons who are aged 18 or above and who are not residing in any residential institution)
$130 per month
(singleton rates)
  1. Temporary Financial Aid under the Employment Support Services
Up to $2,000 per year in general
(please refer to A10 for details)
Disregarded earnings/allowance
  1. Disregarded earnings
Up to $4,000 per month
  1. Disregarded training/
    retraining allowance3
Up to $2,685 per month
Services  
  1. Employment Support Services (please refer to A10 for details)
  1. Full waiving of medical fee at public clinic or hospital in Hong Kong

A range of special grants (including telephone-related grant) has been extended to eligible non-elderly able-bodied recipients since 1 February 2021.  Where necessary, able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 may apply for other special grants; if they fulfil the eligibility criteria, other special grants are payable to meet their special needs.

That is a recipient’s monthly employment earnings, which can be partially disregarded to encourage employment.  For earnings reaching $6,800 per month, up to $4,000 can be disregarded in a month.

3 In recognition of the additional expenditure incurred in attending training/retraining courses, the training/retraining allowance received by a recipient can be disregarded up to $2,685 per month.
 
Q5: Will recipients under the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (PCSSA) Scheme be affected?
 
A5: In the light of the implementation of the new arrangements, the eligible age of the PCSSA Scheme will be adjusted to 65 accordingly.  Persons aged between 60 and 64 who have received PCSSA before 1 February 2019 will be “grandfathered”.  Besides, persons aged between 60 and 64 who have been “grandfathered” under the CSSA Scheme (please refer to A1) can still apply for PCSSA.


Employment Support Supplement (ESS)

Q6: What is the objective of the ESS?
 
A6: Starting from 1 February 2019, the Government will provide all able-bodied persons aged between 60 and 64 who are subject to the new arrangements (please refer to A3 for details) with the ESS, payable on a monthly basis.

The ESS aims to encourage able-bodied adult recipients aged between 60 and 64 to join the labour market and support able-bodied adult recipients aged between 60 and 64 who are working to remain in employment.
 
Q7: What is the amount of the ESS?
 
A7: The ESS has been adjusted to $1,130 per person per month with effect from 1 February 2021 (please refer to A4 for CSSA payments payable to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64).

The amount, which is set at the difference between the CSSA standard rates applicable to singleton able-bodied elderly recipients aged 65 or above ($3,815 per month) and singleton able-bodied adult recipients aged below 65 ($2,685 per month), will be adjusted annually according to the established mechanism.
 
Q8: Who will benefit from the ESS?  Who will not be eligible?
 
A8: Disabled, ill-health and elderly recipients may receive CSSA payments which are higher than those applicable to able-bodied adults.  The ESS is not applicable to these recipients.  It is not applicable to those “grandfathered” able-bodied adult recipients aged between 60 and 64 mentioned in A1 either.

In short, able-bodied CSSA recipients (including single parent/family carer) aged between 60 and 64 receiving the standard rates for able-bodied adults are eligible for the ESS.
 
Q9: Is it necessary for CSSA recipients to apply for the ESS?
 
A9: No.  Eligible CSSA recipients are not required to make application for the ESS, which will be paid to them by the existing CSSA payment method (i.e. normally by autopay to designated bank accounts).


Employment Support Services (EmSS)

Q10:  How does the Government assist employable CSSA recipients in seeking employment?
 
A10: There is a provision of employment support services for able-bodied persons under the CSSA Scheme.  Integrated employment support services are provided to able-bodied CSSA recipients on a family basis by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including employment counselling and training services, assisting recipients in obtaining up-to-date information on labour market / job vacancies / retraining courses, arranging job matching and assessing the needs of recipients for providing them with tailor-made and focussed employment support services.  NGOs will also provide at least 3 months’ post-employment support services to those who have successfully secured employment.

Besides, with the Temporary Financial Aid (TFA) under the EmSS, the NGOs concerned will assist needy CSSA recipients in meeting the expenses when seeking employment or at the early stage of their employment (e.g. expenses on training courses, security personnel permit application, uniform and transportation).  Up to $2,000 of TFA per year will be payable to recipient in general (please refer to A4 for the CSSA payments applicable to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64).

Furthermore, the Government has strengthened the collaboration among the Social Welfare Department, the Labour Department (LD), the Employees Retraining Board and NGOs so as to provide more effective employment support to able-bodied adult recipients.  The LD also implements the Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged (EPEM) to encourage employers to engage middle-aged and elderly job seekers who have left the workforce or are unemployed as well as encourages the elderly aged 60 or above to undergo and complete on-the-job training under EPEM through the provision of a retention allowance, thereby stabilising employment.

 
 
Q11:  Is a CSSA recipient receiving employment support services eligible for the ESS and the TFA under the EmSS at the same time?
 
A11: Yes. Subject to their needs, persons receiving the monthly ESS and employment support services may still receive the TFA from NGOs under the EmSS. (please refer to A4 for the CSSA payments payable to able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64).
 
Q12:  Is it compulsory for able-bodied adults aged between 60 and 64 affected by the new arrangement to receive employment support services?  If not, are they still eligible for CSSA?  If so, will their CSSA payments be deducted?
 
A12: The employment support services, commissioned for operation by NGOs, aim to provide employable CSSA recipients with adequate support and training with a view to helping them secure paid jobs.

Employable able-bodied adult recipients aged between 60 and 64 who are unemployed may receive employment support services on a voluntary basis, they will not be subject to sanction if not receiving the services.  In other words, their payment of CSSA will not be affected.