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Two-year grace period of OALA to expire at end November

     A Social Welfare Department (SWD) spokesman today (September 28) reminded elderly persons that the 24-month grace period arrangement for the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) will expire at the end of November. Thereafter, if the income and/or assets of the OALA beneficiaries exceed the prescribed limits, they must report such changes to the department immediately since they will no longer be eligible for the allowance.

     When rolling out the OALA in April last year, the SWD introduced a 24-month grace period as a one-off special arrangement. This arrangement applied to all cases which were granted the allowance under Phase 1 - "Auto-conversion", or applications received on or before December 31, 2013. The latter included those under Phase 2 - "Postal Submission" and Phase 3 - "New Application".

     The spokesman said, "For applications made in 2013, once an applicant's eligibility for the OALA had been confirmed, under normal circumstances, he or she would be granted a lump sum payment counting from the effective date (i.e., December 1, 2012) at the earliest, and will be entitled for the 24-month grace period (i.e., from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2014). For OALA applications submitted after December 31, 2013, the grace period would be 12 months counting from the date of eligibility.

     "During the grace period, any changes in financial conditions which may result in the recipient's income and/or assets exceeding the prescribed limits will not affect the recipient's eligibility for the allowance.

     "However, we must remind the recipients that if their income and/or assets exceed the prescribed limits after the grace period, such changes must be reported to the SWD immediately.

     "If an applicant has provided incorrect declaration of income or assets at the time of application and receives the allowance, all OALA payments already made will be regarded as overpayment and duly recovered by the SWD," the spokesman said.

     He also reminded OALA recipients who benefited from the Phase 1 - "Auto-conversion" arrangement that the Postal Review being conducted on their cases will come to an end on November 30 as well. If they have not returned the Postal Review Form, they are advised to complete and return it to the SWD as soon as possible.

     He pointed out that if the SWD is unable to verify their continued eligibility for receiving the OALA, the department will suspend the OALA payment to them.

     The OALA aims to supplement the living expenses of Hong Kong elderly persons aged 65 or above who are in need of financial support. To be eligible for the OALA, an applicant must satisfy the income and asset requirements. The prevailing income and asset limits (effective from February 1, 2014) are listed below:

                   Single person      Married couple

Total income           $7,090            $11,360
per month
Total assets value    $201,000          $304,000

     For details and frequently asked questions on the grace period and Postal Review, please visit the SWD website: For enquiries, please call the OALA hotline at 3595 0130 (office hours) or its 24-hour hotline at 3142 2202.

Ends/Sunday, September 28, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:01


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