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CCF to relaunch living subsidy for non-public housing and non-CSSA households (with photo)

The following is issued on behalf of the Community Care Fund Secretariat:

     The Community Care Fund (CCF) today (December 30) announced to relaunch the "One-off Living Subsidy for Low-income Households Not Living in Public Housing and Not Receiving CSSA" assistance programme from January 2 next year to relieve the financial pressure of low-income households. The programme is administered by the CCF Secretariat, with a total of 239 service units operated by non-governmental organisations to assist in its implementation.

     Announcing the details at a press briefing today, the Chairperson of the Community Care Fund Task Force under the Commission on Poverty, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said that the CCF has set aside around $468 million to implement the programme. It is estimated that about 53,000 households (or about 126,000 persons) will benefit. Compared to the first launch of the programme from December 2013 to August 2014, the amount of subsidy will be raised in the relaunch of the programme and one more tier of subsidy for households with four persons or more will be introduced to cater for the needs of bigger families. The adjusted subsidy amounts are $4,000 for one-person households, $8,000 for two-person households, $11,000 for three-person households and $13,000 for four-or-more-person households.

     Beneficiaries should currently be renting accommodation in private housing, industrial or commercial buildings on a monthly basis (or for longer tenures); renting bedspaces offered under the Home Affairs Department's Singleton Hostel Programme; residing in temporary housing; living on board vessels; or homeless persons. Their monthly income must not exceed the specified limits. They should not be receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or own any property in Hong Kong. For those renting accommodation in private housing, industrial or commercial buildings, their monthly rent should not exceed the specified rental limits. The specified income and rental limits are as follows:

Household size    Household income      Rental
  (persons)          limit ($)          limit ($)
                                     (if applicable)
--------------    ----------------   ---------------
      1                9,670             4,835
      2               14,970             7,485
      3               19,820             9,910
      4               24,750            12,375
      5               27,490            13,745
 6 or above           30,780            15,390

     Eligible households that benefited from the first launch of the programme can receive subsidy again. The CCF Secretariat will confirm the eligibility of households that benefited under the programme in the first launch (previous programme beneficiaries) and accept new applications (other eligible households) from January 2015 in phases according to their household size. The relevant phases for confirming eligibility or submitting new applications are as follows:

From January 2, 2015, onwards  One-person households
From February 2, 2015, onwards Two-person households
From March 2, 2015, onwards    Three-person
From April 1, 2015, onwards    Four-or-more-person
                               households (i.e. all
                               eligible households
                               irrespective of
                               household size)
August 31, 2015                End of the application

     Dr Law also said that since the expected number of beneficiaries is large, households are required to confirm eligibility or submit new applications in phases according to their respective household size in order to ease the flow of applications. The application period of the programme will last until August 31 next year, so households have ample time to confirm eligibility or submit new applications.

     To simplify the procedures, previous programme beneficiaries are not required to submit applications again. They will receive notification for confirming eligibility from the Secretariat within the application period. Households who meet the eligibility criteria of the programme should complete the reply slip with appendices attached to the notification and return it to the Secretariat to confirm eligibility before the end of the application period. Upon verification of the eligibility of the household, the Secretariat will send notification of the eligibility verification result to the household. The Secretariat will arrange to disburse the subsidy to beneficiaries according to their chosen method under the first launch of the programme (i.e. either through direct payment into a bank account or by order cheque).

     However, if there are changes in the situations of previous programme beneficiaries (such as new eligible members and/or changes of applicants), they are required to submit a new application under the programme. Such households should also complete the relevant part of the reply slip and return it to the Secretariat. The Secretariat will forward these householdsˇ¦ information to the relevant service units, which will contact the households for follow-up.

     Other eligible households should submit new applications to service units. Households with elderly people only (i.e. all members in the household are aged 65 or above), households with young people only (i.e. all members in the household are aged 24 or below) or homeless people can submit applications to elderly service units, youth service units or service units accepting applications from homeless people respectively.

      The Secretariat and service units will vet each application, including verifying the eligibility, checking the supporting documents submitted, and conducting visits/home visits and income tests on selected applications. The Secretariat will issue notifications of results to applicants after vetting the applications concerned and disburse the subsidy to eligible households. If households choose to receive the subsidy through direct payment into bank accounts, the subsidy will be deposited into the bank accounts as specified in their application forms through autopay. For households who choose to receive the subsidy in the form of order cheques, the service units concerned will inform them to collect the cheques in person at the service units at the specified time.

     Previous programme beneficiaries are urged to pay attention to the notifications sent by the Secretariat in phases from January 2 next year. Other eligible households can obtain application forms and programme briefs from service units, Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department, District Social Welfare Offices of the Social Welfare Department and the Support Service Centres for Ethnic Minorities, or download them from the CCF website ( starting from the same day.

     For details of the programme, please visit the CCF website or call the Secretariat hotline on 2180 6666.

Ends/Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:33


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