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Trust Fund for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

The Finance Committee (FC) of the Legislative Council approved $150 million for the setting up of the Trust Fund for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (The Fund) under the Director of Social Welfare Incorporated Ordinance in 2003 to provide, on compassionate grounds, special ex-gratia assistance to those dependent family members of the deceased SARS patients, to some recovered SARS as well as 'suspected' SARS patients treated with steroids ('Suspected' patients treated with steroids refer to those who were clinically diagnosed as having SARS on admission, treated with steroids as medication for SARS, but turned out subsequently not to have SARS) suffering from longer term effects, attributable to the effects of steroids received. FC had further injected a total of $150 million to the Fund in 2007, 2011 and 2018 respectively.

The purview of the Fund is confined to those patients, who are Hong Kong residents, clinically diagnosed as having SARS during the outbreak in Hong Kong from March to June 2003. With effect from 1 January 2006, no new application would be accepted unless the Hospital Authority has tentatively confirmed that there is medical indication that the potential applicant is likely to be suffering from SARS-related dysfunction(s).

The assistance is special and ex-gratia in nature, on a without admission of liability basis and is to be administered by the Director of Social Welfare in consultation with an independent Committee.

Categories of assistance

  • Special ex-gratia relief payment for families with deceased SARS patients.
  • Special ex-gratia financial assistance for the recovered SARS patients and the 'suspected' SARS patients treated with steroids. The assistance comprises two main aspects:
    (I) Medical expenditure assistance
    (II) Monthly financial assistance

Operation of the Trust Fund

  1. A Committee chaired by a non-official and comprising a balanced mix of non-official members and some official members has been set up to advice the Administration on the operation of and applications for assistance from the Fund.
  2. A Review Committee chaired by a non-official has also been set up.
  3. Recipients of the special ex-gratia assistance are required to make reimbursement (the special ex-gratia assistance or common law damages, whichever is the lower) to the Fund, in case they succeed in obtaining common law damages subsequently.
  4. For applicants who are receiving or applying for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), the special ex-gratia assistance received would be counted in the income and asset assessment of CSSA.
  5. If the applicants are assessed to be eligible for special ex-gratia financial assistance in the review application, the special ex-gratia financial assistance will continuously be granted to them subsequent to the expiry of previous review.


For enquiries please contact the Social Welfare Department (through the hotline 2892 5562 or fax number 2893 6903) during office hours.

Hotline:2892 5562
Fax number:2893 6903