Pedestrians walk along a footbridge in Hong Kong’s Wanchai area on Jan 17, 2022. (BERTHA WANG / AFP)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Friday announced that it will raise the monthly standard payment rates of several social security schemes starting from Feb 1.
“The adjustment will benefit around 1.5 million people, incurring an additional expenditure of around HK$2.262 billion ($288 million) per year,” a spokesperson for the Social Welfare Department said in a statement.
The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council gave approval for the government to upward adjustment of the rates by 3.7 percent on the basis of the year-on-year rate of change of the Social Security Assistance Index of Prices, said a spokesperson for the Social Welfare Department
The schemes include the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, the Old Age Allowance (OAA), Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and Disability Allowance under the Social Security Allowance (SSA) Scheme, according to the statement.
The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council gave approval for the government to upward adjustment of the rates by 3.7 percent on the basis of the year-on-year rate of change of the Social Security Assistance Index of Prices, the spokesperson added.
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Under the CSSA Scheme, the monthly allowance for fully disabled elderly persons in a single-person family will increase from HK$4,730 to HK$4,905, while the allowance for those as one of the family members will expand from HK$4,170 to HK$4,335.
The OOA will increase to HK$1,570 from HK$1,515, while the OALA from HK$3,915 to HK$4,060.
For the maximum rent allowance (MRA) under the CSSA Scheme, the government will maintain the subsidy at the current levels, as the ongoing pandemic and uncertain external environment would weigh on Hong Kong's economic growth in the near term, said the spokesperson.
Currently, a one-person household is eligible for the allowance at HK$2,515, while the subsidy for a family of six people or above is HK$7,800.
“CSSA recipients will continue to be one of the most economically vulnerable groups amid such uncertainties,” the spokesperson said.
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The government will adjust the MRA taking into account the year-on-year rate of change of the Consumer Price Index (A) rent index for private housing, added the spokesperson.