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SLW visits Working Family Allowance Office (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the Working Family Allowance Office (WFAO) of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency (WFSFAA) in Kwun Tong this morning (April 14). Phase 1 applications (for families with four or more persons) under the Low-income Working Family Allowance (LIFA) Scheme will be received next month.

     Accompanied by the Principal Executive Officer of the WFAO, Ms Teresa Cheung, Mr Cheung visited the WFAO's Enquiry Counter, Hotline Enquiry Unit and Information Technology Management Unit, as well as the Publicity and Operation Teams. He was briefed on various preparations for the launch of the Scheme.

     "The Scheme is an important measure of the current-term Government to alleviate poverty, relieve the financial pressure of low-income working families, encourage self-reliance and ease inter-generational poverty in the long run. It is designed to promote employment and incentivise those who work longer hours with a higher allowance," Mr Cheung said.

     Talking to the WFAO's front-line staff, Mr Cheung said, "Many eligible low-income working families have been looking forward to the early roll-out of the Scheme as the allowances will offer genuine support for the needy families." He thanked the WFAO's staff for their hard work in the past 15 months and encouraged them to continue making an all-out effort for a smooth roll-out of the Scheme next month so that the needy families can receive assistance as soon as possible.

     Mr Cheung was also briefed on the WFAO's efforts in reaching out to the community, including the ethnic minorities. The WFAO is conducting a series of community briefings in all districts this month to enable the public to understand the application arrangements and how to fill in the application form. Mr Cheung appealed to all interested parties to attend the briefings, details of which are available on the LIFA website (

     The first-batch applications under the Scheme will be received in three phases: May for families with four or more persons, June for families with three persons, and July for families with two persons. The application form and related documents for Phase 1 (applicable to families with four or more persons) are now available at 159 distribution outlets, including the WFAO, the Student Finance Office of the WFSFAA, the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Division, Job Centres and Industry-based Recruitment Centres of the Labour Department, District Social Welfare Offices, Social Security Field Units and Integrated Family Service Centres of the Social Welfare Department, and Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department. The application form and related documents can also be downloaded from the LIFA website.

     The application form and related documents for Phase 2 (applicable to families with three persons) and Phase 3 (applicable to families with two persons) will be made available on May 3 and June 1 respectively. The claim periods for the first-batch applications will all start from November 2015 under any of the three phases.

     Under the Scheme, a family of two or more members meeting the income and asset limits may apply for a full-rate Basic Allowance ($600 per month), a full-rate Higher Allowance ($1,000 per month), a half-rate Basic Allowance ($300 per month) or a half-rate Higher Allowance ($500 per month) if the applicant meets the working hour requirements. Each eligible child may also be granted a full-rate Child Allowance ($800 per month) or a half-rate Child Allowance ($400 per month). Noting that single parents may have less support in taking care of their children, the working hour requirements for single parents will be lower.

     The Scheme is expected to benefit 200 000 low-income working families comprising 700 000 people including 170 000 eligible children or youths. The estimated disbursement of allowances will amount to about $2.9 billion per year. It is expected to cut the overall poverty rate by 2 percentage points and the child poverty rate by 4.2 percentage points.

Ends/Thursday, April 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:26


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