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SWD proactively follows up applications for OALA
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     A spokesman for the Social Welfare Department (SWD) today (March 30) said that SWD has made use of the data of the elderly persons currently kept in the Computerised Social Security System (CSSS) to issue green notification letters to some 290,000 elderly persons to enable them to receive the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) through Phase 1 íV Auto-conversion.

     Those who have not received the green notification letters and currently receiving the Higher Old Age Allowance (HOAA) will be dealt with in Phase 2 íV Postal Submission. SWD will continue to proactively follow up applications for OALA.

     The spokesman explained that SWD had switched to use the current CSSS since October 2000. It is believed that some old data had not been transferred to the current system at that time when the system started its operation.

     SWD believed that a small portion of data concerning the receipt of Normal Old Age Allowance (NOAA) involving elderly persons aged 70 or above having received NOAA between the ages of 65 to 69 and continuing to receive HOAA had not been transferred to the CSSS. The reason is that when the CSSS was used in the year of 2000, these elderly persons were already receiving HOAA. While their HOAA data had been transferred to the CSSS, the old data concerning their receipt of NOAA had not been transferred.

     The spokesman reiterated that those who have not been dealt with in Phase 1 íV Auto-conversion will be processed in Phase 2 íV Postal Submission, and the application procedures are simple. Upon receipt of the "Postal Submission Application form", SWD will assess the applicant's eligibility as soon as practicable.

     When SWD conducts review on the financial situation for all elders who have benefited from the "Auto-conversion" arrangement in the second year of implementing OALA (that is, in 2014), the elderly persons who have applied for OALA through "Postal submission" will not be required to declare afresh their income and assets, the spokesman explained.

     SWD has set up a Centralised Team to handle some 290,000 cases of "Auto-conversion" and some 290,000 applications through "Postal submission" while the Social Security Field Units will handle cases of "New application". The department has already issued procedural guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions to staff, and made available an internal enquiry hotline to facilitate staff to handle enquiries about the work procedures and relating arrangements. In addition, the Social Security Branch, the Centralised Team and the Computer Section will provide all necessary support to enable the staff to answer questions raised by the elderly persons concerned.

     SWD has also, through its 11 District Social Welfare Offices, held briefings for district organisations to assist elderly persons to apply for OALA in accordance with the arrangements under the three phases and answer enquiries.

Ends/Saturday, March 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 23:51

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