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LCQ18: Emergency alarm system

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (March 28):


     I have learnt that once the Social Welfare Department, the Housing Department and the Hong Kong Housing Society approve the applications for grant for emergency alarm system (EAS) for elderly recipients, EAS service to all these applicants will be provided by the same service provider, and the amount of EAS grant involved in the services provided by that service provider has amounted to tens of millions of dollars in aggregation.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of applications for EAS grant received by various government departments concerned in each of the past three years;

(b) of the names of the service providers which had been referred new cases of EAS grant by the government departments concerned and provided EAS services to these applicants, as well as the numbers of new cases referred by the government departments concerned to each service provider, in each of the past three years;

(c) of the respective amounts of EAS grant involved in the EAS services provided by various service providers mentioned in (b) for cases referred by the government departments concerned in each of the past three years; and

(d) whether there are measures in place to ensure a level playing field in respect of the referral of cases of EAS grant to various EAS service providers by the government departments concerned; if there are, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     At present, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) provide, on a reimbursement basis, a one-off grant of up to $2,500 to elders on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) and eligible elderly public rental housing (PRH) tenants respectively for installing the Emergency Alarm System (EAS).  CSSA elders may choose not to apply for this one-off grant, and opt for a recurrent grant of up to $100 per month to cover the EAS monthly service fee instead.  The Hong Kong Housing Society (HS) pays the monthly fee to EAS service providers direct, on behalf of all elderly tenants living in its Elderly Persons' Units and other eligible elderly tenants.

     Beneficiaries of the above arrangements are free to choose their own EAS service provider as appropriate.  Assistance provided by SWD, HA and HS does not cover recommending service providers to these beneficiaries or referring their cases to service providers.  Although elderly tenants whose monthly fee is paid by HS may only choose an EAS service provider from HS's approved list, any EAS service provider may apply to be an approved provider.  HS will take into account factors such as service quality and technical standard, and adopt consistent criteria in assessing the applications.

     My reply to the Hon Albert Chan's question is as follows:

(a) In 2009, 2010 and 2011, one, two and one CSSA recipients were given the one-off grant for installing EAS respectively whilst on average 33 283, 36 434 and 38 771 CSSA recipients received the monthly grant for service fee payment respectively.  SWD does not have a breakdown of the new recipients among them.

     In the same three years, the numbers of applications to HA for one-off grants to install EAS were 1 750, 1 755 and 1 616 respectively.  Of these, 5 030 were successful cases.  HS approved 179, 155 and 106 applications respectively for direct payment of the EAS monthly service fee.

(b), (c) and (d) As SWD, HA and HS do not refer applicants to EAS service providers, parts (b), (c) and (d) of the question are not applicable.

Ends/Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Issued at HKT 13:39


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