LCQ20: Financial assistance and concessions for elderly

     Following is a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (December 21):


     Over the years, the Government has provided various subsidies and concessions for the elderly, but the age of eligibility to apply for and the targets of such elderly welfare benefits are inconsistent, and some elderly people indicated that they are perplexed as to when they are eligible to apply for such benefits. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of elderly welfare benefit schemes (including allowances and concessions for the elderly to use facilities, etc) provided by the Government at present; of the respective age of eligibility to apply for such schemes; and

(b) whether the authorities will standardise the age of eligibility to apply for various elderly welfare benefit schemes (eg at the age of 60 across the board); if not, of the reasons for that; if they will, whether they have assessed if standardising the age of eligibility as 60 or above will lead to an increase in the Government's welfare expenditure and will benefit more elderly people; if so, of the estimated amount of increase in welfare expenditure each year, as well as the additional number of elderly people expected to be benefited each year?



     My reply to the Hon Lau Kong-wah's question is as follows:

(a) and (b) The Government's overall objective is to provide appropriate assistance and concessions to meet the needs of our citizens, and ensure the proper use of public resources. As these assistance and concessions are different in nature, aim and target recipients, they have different age requirements and eligibility criteria. We have no plan to standardise the age requirements.

     The age requirements of financial assistance and concessions for facilities currently provided by the Government for old persons are as follows:

Financial assistance /                 Age criterion
concessions for facilities

Building Maintenance                   60 or above
Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners

Allowances for old persons             60 or above
under the Comprehensive Social
Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme

Concessionary admission and            60 or above
programme fees for Leisure
and Cultural Services Department
 (LCSD) museums, and
museum concessionary pass

Concessionary admission fees           65 or above
for the Hong Kong Wetland Park

Concessionary rates for use of         60 or above
sports and recreation facilities
maintained by LCSD

Concessionary tickets for              60 or above
cultural programmes
presented by LCSD

Elderly Health Care Voucher            70 or above

Fee exempted for the use of            60 or above
cloakroom at LCSD libraries

Grant of mediator fee for              60 or above
elderly minority owners
under the Pilot Mediation Scheme
under the Land
(Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment)
Ordinance (Cap. 545)

Higher Old Age Allowance               70 or above

Normal Old Age Allowance               65 - 69

Allowances under                       60 or above
the Portable CSSA Scheme

Public Rental Housing (PRH)            60 or above
Emergency Alarm System Grant
for the Elderly

PRH rent assistance                   60 or above

Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:36