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Two-year grace period of OALA to expire soon

     A spokesman for the Social Welfare Department (SWD) today (November 2) reminded elderly people that the 24-month grace period arrangement for the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) will expire at the end of this month (November 30). Thereafter, if the income and/or assets of 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.

     The spokesman pointed out that 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 including those under Phase 2 - "Postal Submission" and Phase 3 - "New Application". 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.

     The spokesman said that during the grace period, any changes in financial conditions which may result in the recipient's income and/or assets exceeding the prescribed limits would not affect the recipient's eligibility for the allowance. However, 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 provided an 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.

     For details and frequently asked questions on the grace period, 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, November 2, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:01


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