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- Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities

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Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities Phase II

$d Background and Objectives
$d Eligibility Criteria
$d Application Procedures
$d Vetting of Applications
$d Guidance Notes on Application and Receipt of Allowance
$d Responsibilities of the Applicant
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$d Background and Objectives
 

The Community Care Fund (CCF) launched a two-year pilot scheme namely the “Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities” in October 2016, which aims at providing carers of persons with disabilities from low-income families with a living allowance to help supplement their living expenses so that persons with disabilities in need of long-term care may, with the help of their carers, receive proper care and remain living in the community. CCF will, in October 2018, rollout Phase II of the Pilot Scheme which lasts for two years up to September 2020 and administer by the Social Welfare Department (SWD).

 
 
$d Eligibility Criteria
 
An applicant, who is the carer providing care for the person(s) with disabilities, must meet ALL of the following criteria:
  
  • the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of must be living in Hong Kong and on the waiting lists for any specified rehabilitation services(Note 1) subsidised by SWD, for special school with boarding placement under the Education Bureau (EDB) or for infirmary service of the Hospital Authority (HA) on or before 31 March 2018;
  • the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of must be living in the community without using any residential care services (RCS)/boarding service of special school/infirmary service(Note 2) and not undergoing long-term hospitalisation(Note 3) during the application period or while receiving the allowance;
  • the carer must be capable of taking up the care-giving role(Note 4) and is providing at least 80 hours of care-giving work(Note 5) per month; or not less than a total of 120 hours per month for taking care of more than one person with disabilities who meets the above-mentioned criteria at the same time;
  • the carer must be a Hong Kong resident living in Hong Kong and not engaged in any form of employment relationship with the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of;
  • the carer must not be a recipient of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) or allowance in respect of taking care the same person with disabilities under Phase III of the “Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Carers of Elderly Persons from Low-income Families” of CCF; and
  • the carer is from a low income family, i.e. the monthly household income, excluding assets, of the carer and the household members residing with him/her(Note 6) does not exceed the specified income limit applicable to the corresponding household size. (Please refer to the table below for the monthly household income limit). For the calculation of the monthly household income, please refer to the “Guide on Reporting Income” at Annex.
 
 

Monthly Household Income Limit
[The income limit is set with reference to 75% of the Median Monthly Domestic Household Income (MMDHI) published in the Report on General Household Survey for the Fourth Quarter of 2017 by the Census and Statistics Department and is applicable throughout the whole period of Phase II of the Pilot Scheme.]

   
 
Household size Monthly household income limit ($)
1 7,500*
2 14,475
3 22,500
4 30,000
5 42,200
6 or above 42,900
  * The monthly household income limit for household size of 1 is continuously set with reference to the MMDHI published in the Report on General Household Survey for the Third Quarter of 2015 by the Census and Statistics Department.
   
Note 1: Specified rehabilitation services refer to subsidised RCS/day rehabilitation training services with waiting lists managed by the CRS Rehab of SWD, including hostels for severely physically handicapped persons, hostels for severely mentally handicapped persons, hostels for moderately mentally handicapped persons, care-and-attention (C&A) homes for severely disabled persons, C&A homes for the aged blind, long-stay care homes, residential special child care centres, day activity centres, sheltered workshops and special child care centres, as well as CCS with waiting lists managed by service operators, including home care service for persons with severe disabilities and integrated support service for persons with severe physical disabilities.
 
Note 2: The persons with disabilities being taken care of who are receiving CCS and/or day rehabilitation training services while on the waiting lists for specified subsidised RCS are also eligible for Phase II of the Pilot Scheme.
 
Note 3: If the persons with disabilities being taken care of have been receiving in-patient treatment at a hospital for more than three months, they are regarded as undergoing “long-term hospitalisation” and are therefore not eligible for Phase II of the Pilot Scheme. If these persons with disabilities (including those who have been invited but have never submitted applications or whose applications have been approved but allowance payments have been suspended due to hospitalisation) are discharged from hospital and live in the community without using any RCS/boarding service of special school/infirmary service before Phase II of the Pilot Scheme ends (i.e. in or before September 2020), the carers concerned can contact SWD for making application/ re-application. The subsidy period for eligible carers of Phase II of the Pilot Scheme will end in September 2020 the latest.
 
Note 4: Any person who is under the age of 15, or has been assessed under the Standardised Care Need Assessment Mechanism for Elderly Services to be of moderate or severe level of impairment, or is on the waiting lists for any specified rehabilitation services subsidised by SWD, special school with boarding placement under EDB or for infirmary services of HA, or is a recipient of DA, will not be deemed to be a fit and capable carer and therefore will not be eligible for the carer allowance of Phase II of the Pilot Scheme.
 
Note 5: The care provided by the carer to the persons with disabilities refers to independent activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, home making, medication management, purchase of daily necessities, escort, etc. and/or personal care and assistance in activities of daily living required by the person with disabilities concerned, such as moving, dressing, toileting, personal hygiene, etc. For some carers taking care of the persons with disabilities with behavioral or emotional problems, the time needed to calm down the persons with disabilities before the above daily living care can be provided may be counted as care-giving hours. In addition, the number of hours for the carer to attend training can also be counted as care-giving hours.
 
Note 6: Household members generally refer to people residing with the applicant in Hong Kong and have close economic ties with him/her (but excluding economic ties arising from employment relationship). This includes household members and those who share or are obliged to share the provisions for a living. Such member(s) and/or person(s) must be Hong Kong resident(s). The monthly household income refers to the average monthly income for the three months prior to the month when the application is submitted, any income received out of those three months can be excluded. For income not paid on a monthly basis, e.g. double pay, bonuses, contract gratuity, dividend, etc, it should be apportioned over the period concerned for calculation. Income includes the following items:  
1. Employment earnings: salary, double pay/leave pay, work allowance, bonuses/prize/ commission/tip/contract gratuity, income from rendering services, business profits, etc.; and
2. Other income: contributions from children, financial assistance from relatives/friends, alimony, monthly pension/widow’s and orphans’ payment or pensions, investment profits, interest income from fixed deposits, dividends, rental income, etc.
but excludes employee’s mandatory contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme (i.e. the 5% mandatory contributions made by employees to an MPF scheme), financial assistance provided by the Government, charitable donations, subsidies from other assistance programmes under CCF, etc.

 

   
$d Application Procedures
   
  • Starting from August 2018, SWD will issue letters to the persons with disabilities who are on the waiting lists for specified subsidised RCS/day rehabilitation training services managed by the Central Referral System for Rehabilitation Services (CRS Rehab) of SWD, or on the waiting lists for specified community care services (CCS) managed by service operators, or on the waiting lists for special school with boarding placement under EDB or infirmary service of HA on or before 31 March 2018, to invite their carers to participate in Phase II of the Pilot Scheme. An application form will be enclosed in the invitation letter.
  • Phase II of the Pilot Scheme is expected to benefit about 500 eligible carers (the eligible carers of Phase I of the Pilot Scheme are not included). For each person with disabilities invited to participate in Phase II of the Pilot Scheme, only one carer can apply for and receive the allowance. If a person with disabilities has more than one carer, the carers must decide among themselves who should apply for and receive the allowance.
  • Each applicant is required to submit the completed application form together with all necessary documents below by post (the postmark date will be regarded as submission date) or by hand to CCF Team of SWD on or before 31 October 2018:
    • copies of identification documents of the carer and his/her household members residing with him/her in Hong Kong;
    • a copy/copies of the identification document of the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of; and
    • a copy of the document of the bank account specified by the carer for receiving allowance through autopay (must be a local Hong Kong Dollar sole-name savings/current account, with the name of the account holder and the account number clearly shown on the document, which can be a bank statement or the first page of a bankbook, but copy of an Automatic Teller Machine Card will not be accepted).
   
$d Vetting of Applications
   
  • SWD will process the applications according to the information submitted by the applicants. After completion of the vetting procedures, SWD will refer the eligible carers to approved service units (service units) (i.e. Parents/Relatives Resource Centres, Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness or Parents/Relatives Resource Centres for Ex-mentally Ill Persons or District Support Centres for Persons with Disabilities) which assist in the implementation of Phase II of the Pilot Scheme for follow-up and notify the applicants the results of applications by notification letters. Applicants will be granted the allowance only if they meet all the eligibility criteria when Phase II of the Pilot Scheme launches (i.e. 1 October 2018), and the allowance payable to eligible applicants starts from October 2018 the earliest.
  • In making an application, the applicant is not required to submit relevant proof of income. SWD will conduct random checks in the course of processing the application or releasing payment of allowance, and the relevant persons will be required to provide detailed information of their financial position together with relevant documents for verification.
   
   
$d Guidance Notes on Application and Receipt of Allowance
   
 
  Receiving Carer Support Services
  • After completion of the vetting procedures, SWD will refer the eligible carers to service units, which will follow-up and provide carer support services. Based on the residential district of the person with disabilities being taken care of or the corresponding unit of the responsible social worker, etc., SWD will allocate a suitable service unit to the carer and the person with disabilities being taken care of.
  • While receiving the allowance, the carer and the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of are required to meet with the social worker of the service unit on a regular basis (including interviews and/or home visits) and receive support services provided by the service unit.
  • At the first meeting with the social worker of the service unit, the carer is required to give details of the day-to-day care provided to the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of by completing the “Declaration of Carers of the Persons with Disabilities” and returning it to the service unit for record purpose.
  • The carer is required to submit a self-certified “Record of Hours of Care-giving”(Note 7) to the service unit on or before the prescribed date each month for arranging payment of the allowance.
  • The social worker of the service unit will regularly meet with the carer and the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of to learn more about the person(s) with disabilities and the care-giving capabilities of the carer, so as to provide appropriate counselling to strengthen/enhance the care-giving capabilities of the carer. The social worker may also provide assistance and counselling based on the welfare needs and the care plans of the person(s) with disabilities and the carer, and refer them to appropriate community support services as and when necessary.
  • The social worker of the service unit, while maintaining liaison with the social worker responsible for handling the application of rehabilitation services of the person(s) with disabilities, would also communicate with the relevant service units providing CCS, so as to ensure that the person(s) with disabilities receive appropriate service packages.
  • Except for home relocation of the person with disabilities, SWD generally would advise the carer to continuously receiving support services provided by the same service unit. If a person with disabilities has to change to another service unit due to home relocation, his/her carer should submit an application supported with relevant information (such as the new residential address) to the serving service unit. The service unit will transfer such information to SWD for arranging case transfer to another service unit for follow-up. Unless the arrangement of another service unit has been formally confirmed by SWD, the serving service unit shall continue to provide carer support services for the case concerned.
  Note 7: Social workers of the service units will provide such forms when meeting with the carers. The number of hours to be recorded in the “Record of Hours of Care-giving” is based on one calendar month. The last day of each month is regarded as the end of that calendar month.
 
 
  Enrolling in Training Programmes for the Carers
  • The service units will introduce/select suitable training programmes for the carer or advise him/her to enroll in specific training programmes based on the conditions of the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of for enhancement of care-giving capabilities.
  • The number of hours spent on attending carer training can be counted as care-giving hours. The service unit, where necessary, will provide the carer with appropriate assistance, such as arranging respite services or volunteer visits for the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of, so that the carer can attend training or be temporarily relieved from the pressure of providing long-term care for the person(s) with disabilities.
  • If the carer has enrolled in fee-charging training programmes for carers, a total of up to $1,000 training fee could be reimbursed under Phase II of the Pilot Scheme. The carer should submit the original receipt of the fees paid for the training courses to his/her service unit and apply for reimbursement of such fees on an accountable basis. Upon confirmation of the application for reimbursement, such fees will be reimbursed and directly credited by SWD to the carer’s bank account for receiving the allowance payment.
 
  Payment of Allowance
  • If an eligible carer has been providing the minimum required hours of care-giving for the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of when Phase II of the Pilot Scheme launches (i.e. October 2018), the allowance may be payable starting from October 2018 the earliest and end in September 2020 the latest.
  • The self-certified “Record of Hours of Care-giving” must be completed and submitted to the service unit on or before the date prescribed by the service unit every month so that the allowance for the last calendar month can be paid during the month. Otherwise, the payment of allowance will be deferred (please refer to the example in Note 8).
  • A monthly allowance of $2,400 will be disbursed to each carer after the service unit has reviewed his/her hours of care-giving provided; if a carer has to take care of more than one person with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria and the carer is considered by the service unit to be capable of taking care of more than one person with disabilities at the same time, a maximum allowance of $4,800 per month will be given(Note 9).
  • If there is any change in the family or health conditions of the carer/the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of resulting in the loss of eligibility for allowance [e.g. the person with disabilities being taken care of has admitted to RCS/boarding service of special school/infirmary service/passed away/left Hong Kong/undergone long-term hospitalisation, or the carer being a recipient of CSSA/OALA/Disability Allowance (DA)/left Hong Kong, etc.] during the period of receiving the allowance, the carer must notify SWD or his/her service unit immediately so as to cease the payment of allowance. The payment of allowance to the carer will cease from the calendar month following the circumstantial change of the carer/person(s) with disabilities being taken care of.
  • For each person with disabilities, only one carer can apply for the allowance at any one time. If a carer has ceased to receive allowance before the expiry of Phase II of the Pilot Scheme, another eligible carer may apply afresh to SWD for allowance within three months. If the eligibility of the new applicant is confirmed, the payment of allowance may be made to him/her from the eligible month to September 2020 the latest. (The eligible month of the new carer refers to the month in which SWD receives the application from him/her, or the month following the cessation of the allowance payable to the previous carer, whichever is the later.)
  • If the carer is unable/does not need to provide any care to the person(s) with disabilities for a period of time in a certain calendar month due to certain reasons such as the carer/the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of being temporarily away from Hong Kong or hospitalised for in-patient treatment, or the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of admitted to residential care homes for respite services, etc., but still meets the minimum required hours of care-giving per month, he/she will be given the allowance for the month concerned. Nevertheless, if the carer cannot meet the minimum required hours of care-giving per month [care-giving hour will not be counted during the period when the person with disabilities being taken care of is admitted to residential care homes for respite services or when the carer/person(s) with disabilities is/are temporarily away from Hong Kong], he/she will not be granted the allowance for the month concerned.
  Note 8: Example of the payment of allowance:
It is prescribed by the service unit handling Carer A’s case that the carer must submit in person the self-certified “Record of Hours of Care-giving” on or before the 6th day of each month. If the “Record of Hours of Care-giving” for November is submitted by Carer A to his/her service unit on 3 December and verified by the service unit, he/she will receive the allowance for November from SWD by end-December. However, if the “Record of Hours of Care-giving” for November is submitted by Carer A to his/her service unit only on 7 December, the payment of allowance for November will defer until end-January; if he/she then submits the “Record of Hours of Care-giving” for December on time in January (i.e. on or before 6 January), he/she will receive the allowance for these two calendar months, November and December, at the same time in end-January.
 
  Note 9: Only one carer of each person with disabilities being taken care of can apply for the allowance at any one time. The persons with disabilities who benefit from Phase II of the Pilot Scheme cannot concurrently benefit from Phase III of the “Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Carers of Elderly Persons from Low-income Families”, nor the “Pilot Scheme on Providing Subsidy for Higher Disability Allowance Recipients in Paid Employment to Hire Carers” under CCF. The allowance paid under Phase II of the Pilot Scheme will be counted as family income under the “Working Family Allowance Scheme”.
 
   
$d Responsibilities of the Applicant
   
 

Applicant has to read carefully the “Declaration and Undertaking by Applicant” in Part 5 of the application form and sign for confirmation when submitting the application form. Information provided by the applicant must be true and complete. In case of any change of the relevant information, the applicant must notify SWD or his/her service unit as soon as possible. The applicant must provide detailed information for verification when SWD conducts random checks on his/her case. Any amount verified by SWD as overpayment will have to be returned.

   
   
$d Download Zone
 
$d Brief on Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities (the Pilot Scheme) Phase II
(For reference to New Applicant for Phase II of the Pilot Scheme)
(Acrobat PDF Document)
     (Word Word Document)
$d Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities--List of Approved Service Providers (October 2016) 
(Acrobat PDF Document)        (Excel Excel Document)
   
   
Downloading of the PDF Documentacrobat documents for reading and printing can be done through the use of the Adobe(R) acrobat(R) reader software which is available free at the Adobe Systems Inc. Website. Get Adobe reader
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