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- Pilot Scheme on Raising the Maximum Level of Disregarded Earnings for Recipients with Disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme


Pilot Scheme on Raising the Maximum Level of Disregarded Earnings for Recipients with Disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme
(Extended Pilot Scheme in 2019)

Background and Objective
Eligibility Criteria
DE
Payment of Subsidy
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Background and Objective
 

The Community Care Fund (CCF) has launched a “Pilot Scheme on Raising the Maximum Level of Disregarded Earnings for Recipients with Disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme” (the Pilot Scheme) since October 2016 to encourage recipients with disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme to secure employment. Under the Pilot Scheme, CSSA recipients with disabilities who are currently employed are encouraged to look for jobs with higher salaries, while those who are currently unemployed are encouraged to join the labour force. CCF now extends the Pilot Scheme for 12 months till end-September 2020. The Pilot Scheme is administered by the Social Welfare Department (SWD).

   
   
Eligibility Criteria
 
 
A CSSA recipient must meet the following criteria in order to benefit:
  • he/she is receiving CSSA and medically certified to be disabled or in ill-health;
  • he/she is engaged in paid employment and entitled to the disregarded earnings (DE) arrangement under the CSSA Scheme; and
  • he/she is medically certified to be disabled or in ill-health continuously while enjoying the raised DE under the Pilot Scheme.
        
   
   
DE
   
  • DE refers to the earnings from employment that are disregarded when assessing the amount of assistance payable to a CSSA recipient. Under the CSSA Scheme, all categories of recipients in cases which have been on CSSA for not less than two months are eligible for the DE benefits. The current arrangement is that the first $800 of the monthly earnings from employment of a CSSA recipient is totally disregarded, while up to half of the next $3,400 of his/her earnings (i.e., $1,700) is also disregarded, adding up to a total DE of $2,500 per month at the maximum.
  • Under the Pilot Scheme, the maximum level of DE is raised such that the first $1,200 of the monthly earnings from employment of a disabled CSSA recipient will be totally disregarded, while up to half of the next $5,600 of earnings (i.e., $2,800) will also be disregarded, adding up to a total DE of $4,000 per month at the maximum.
  • The difference between the raised DE and the recipient’s earnings already been disregarded under the current DE arrangement of the CSSA Scheme shall be the “additional DE”, i.e. the amount of subsidy payable to a beneficiary under the Pilot Scheme. Each eligible person can receive a monthly subsidy of $1,500 at the maximum and the subsidy will be disbursed on a quarterly basis (please refer to the example in Note).
 

Note: Example of calculation of “additional DE”

 
  • A CSSA recipient who is medically certified to be disabled earns a monthly income of $5,800 and has already been receiving $2,500 (i.e, $800+$3,400 ÷ 2 = $2,500) of DE under the current arrangement of the CSSA Scheme. Under the Pilot Scheme, the raised DE payable to him will be $3,500 [i.e., $1,200+($5,800 - $1,200) ÷ 2 = $3,500]. In other words, the CSSA recipient will receive an additional $1,000 DE per month (i.e., $3,500 - $2,500).
  • Under the Pilot Scheme, the amount of “additional DE” payable will be directly deposited on a quarterly basis (i.e., $1,000 x 3 = $3,000), in the form of a subsidy, into the bank account of the case that the beneficiary uses for receiving CSSA payments.
  • Please note that this is only a simple example to illustrate the calculation of “additional DE” under the Pilot Scheme. The actual amount of “additional DE” payable to a beneficiary under the Pilot Scheme will be subject to his/her actual circumstances under CSSA.

 

   
   
Payment of Subsidy
   
  • Eligible CSSA recipients with disabilities are not required to submit applications. In accordance with the current mode of operation, SWD will assess the amount of “additional DE” payable to the recipients under the Pilot Scheme based on their earnings from employment which recorded in the Computerised Social Security System. Having verified the relevant details of the cases, SWD will deposit on a quarterly basis the payments of the additional DE, in the form of a subsidy, directly into the bank accounts that the eligible CSSA recipients use for receiving CSSA payments.
  • The subsidy will be paid for the first time in March 2020. Notification letters will be issued to the beneficiaries setting out details of the arrangements of the Extended Pilot Scheme, including arrangements for payment of the subsidy.
  • If a beneficiary receiving the subsidy ceases to be on CSSA, or is no longer medically certified to be disabled or in ill-health, or has stopped engaging in paid employment and is therefore not entitled to DE under the CSSA Scheme, the raised DE under the Pilot Scheme will be discontinued from the following month after the circumstantial changes. Should the same person become eligible again within the implementation period of the Pilot Scheme (that is from October 2019 to September 2020), SWD will resume payment of the subsidy based on the recipients’ earnings from employment as recorded in the Computerised Social Security System.
   
   
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Brief on Pilot Scheme on Raising the Maximum Level of Disregarded Earnings for Recipients with Disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme
(Acrobat PDF Document)
        (Word Word Document)
   
   
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