Social Security System


The social security system provides a safety net for individuals or families suffering financial hardship for various reasons, such as old age, disability, illness, unemployment, low earnings, etc. The aim of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme is to assist such individuals or families in meeting essential and special needs of livelihood. The aim of the Social Security Allowance (SSA) Scheme is to help the severely disabled and the elderly to meet special needs arising from disability and/or old age. A person can receive either assistance under the CSSA Scheme or one of the allowances under the SSA Scheme.


2. Both Schemes are non-contributory. The CSSA Scheme is means-tested. Applicants for SSA are not subject to a means test except that persons aged between 65 and 69 claiming the Old Age Allowance have to declare that their income and assets do not exceed the prescribed levels.

3. There are residence requirements for both Schemes. In addition, applicants for CSSA aged between 15 and 59, if unemployed and in normal health, are expected to seek work actively by registering for employment assistance with the Labour Department.

4. Starting from 1 April 1997, elderly persons aged 60 or above, who have been in receipt of CSSA continuously for 3 years, may join the Portable CSSA Scheme whereby they are allowed to continue to receive their monthly standard payments and annual long term supplement should they choose to retire permanently to Guangdong.

Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme

5. The amount of assistance is determined by the resources and needs of the applicant. The difference between the applicant income and his total needs as determined by reference to certain prescribed levels, will be the amount of assistance payable.

6. The Scheme embraces different standard payments to meet the basic and general needs of broad categories of recipients. In addition, an annual long-term supplement is paid to those who have been receiving assistance continuously for more than 12 months for the replacement of household and durable goods. A monthly supplement is also paid to single parents in recognition of the special difficulties they face in bringing up families on their own without the support of spouses. Apart from these standard payments, a wide range of non-standard payments in the form of special grants are payable to meet the specific needs of an individual or family. They include payments to cover such expenses as rent, school fees and other educational expenses, medically recommended diets, spectacles and dentures.

Social Security Allowance Scheme

7. Four allowances are payable under this scheme as follows -

  1. Normal Disability Allowance

    For severely disabled persons who, broadly speaking, suffer from a 100% loss of earning capacity, or who are profoundly deaf.

  2. Higher Disability Allowance

    For severely disabled persons who require constant attendance from others in their daily life but are not receiving such care in a government or subvented institution or a medical institution under the Hospital Authority.

  3. Normal Old Age Allowance

    For persons aged between 65 and 69 whose income and assets do not exceed the prescribed levels.

  4. Higher Old Age Allowance

    For persons aged 70 or over.