Community Care Fund to roll out three pilot schemes related to persons with disabilities
The Community Care Fund (CCF) will roll out three pilot schemes related to persons with disabilities tomorrow (October 3) to encourage persons with disabilities to engage in employment and work continuously, and strengthen support for carers of persons with disabilities.
The three projects, administered by the Social Welfare Department (SWD), are "Pilot scheme on raising the maximum level of disregarded earnings for recipients with disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme", "Pilot scheme on providing subsidy for Higher Disability Allowance recipients in paid employment to hire carers" and "Pilot scheme on living allowance for low-income carers of persons with disabilities".
Details of the three pilot schemes are as follows:
(1) Pilot scheme on raising the maximum level of disregarded earnings for recipients with disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme
By raising the maximum level of disregarded earnings (DE) for recipients with disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, this three-year pilot scheme aims to encourage CSSA recipients with disabilities to engage in employment and work continuously.
Under the pilot scheme, the maximum level of DE for CSSA recipients with disabilities is raised by 60 per cent. That is, the first $1,200 from recipients' monthly earnings from employment will be totally disregarded, while up to half of the earnings from the next $5,600 (i.e., $2,800) will be disregarded. The maximum level of the raised DE will be $4,000 per month. The pilot scheme is expected to benefit about 3 000 persons.
During the implementation period of the pilot scheme (i.e., from October 2016 to September 2019), CSSA recipients with disabilities who meet the following criteria will be eligible for the raised DE:
* receiving CSSA and medically certified to be disabled or in ill health;
* engaging in paid employment and entitled to the DE arrangement under the CSSA Scheme; and
* medically certified to be disabled or in ill health continuously while enjoying the raised DE under the pilot scheme.
Eligible CSSA recipients with disabilities are not required to submit applications. The SWD will assess the amount of additional DE relevant CSSA recipients are entitled to based on records of information on their employment income. The additional DE, in the form of subsidy, will be deposited directly into the bank accounts which the eligible CSSA recipients use for receiving CSSA payment. Notification letters will be issued to the beneficiaries setting out details of arrangements of the pilot scheme, including arrangements for payment of the subsidy.
(2) Pilot scheme on providing subsidy for Higher Disability Allowance recipients in paid employment to hire carers
This three-year pilot scheme aims to provide subsidy for Higher Disability Allowance (HDA) recipients engaged in paid employment to hire carers to assist them in travelling between their home and workplace and/or their activities in the workplace with a view to encouraging them to work continuously.
Under the pilot scheme, eligible persons will be granted a monthly subsidy of $5,000 to hire carers starting from the month in which their eligibility is confirmed up to September 2019. The pilot scheme is expected to benefit about 100 persons. Beneficiaries of the pilot scheme must satisfy the following criteria:
* receiving HDA under the Social Security Allowance Scheme (excluding persons medically certified as unfit for making a statement);
* having secured paid employment (not applicable to persons engaged in self-employment or working from home) with a monthly income of not less than $7,500 and not exceeding $30,000; and
* being gainfully employed but his/her relatives or friends are unable to provide care for him/her, and is in need of hiring a full-time carer (mainly a foreign domestic helper) to assist him/her in travelling between their home and workplace (not applicable to persons who work from home) and/or taking care of his/her activities in the workplace (including providing care for daily living and in the workplace but should not assist or participate in the person's gainful employment).
Starting from tomorrow, the SWD will issue letters to existing HDA recipients setting out details of arrangements of the pilot scheme and invite applications from those who fulfil the eligibility criteria. Applicants are required to submit the completed application form together with all necessary documents by post or by hand to the CCF Team of the SWD by the end of September 2017. The SWD will notify applicants on the application results in writing upon completing vetting of the applications and disburse the subsidy to successful applicants accordingly.
(3) Pilot scheme on living allowance for low-income carers of persons with disabilities
This two-year pilot scheme aims at providing carers of persons with disabilities from low-income families with a living allowance to help supplement their living expenses so that the persons with disabilities in need of long-term care may, with the help of their carers, receive proper care and remain living in the community.
Under the pilot scheme, a monthly allowance of $2,000 will be disbursed to each eligible carer, and a maximum of $4,000 per month will be disbursed to each eligible carer who takes care of more than one person with disabilities at the same time. The subsidy period will start from October 2016 at the earliest, and end in September 2018 at the latest. It is expected to benefit about 2 000 carers. Carers of the pilot scheme shall meet all of the following criteria:
* the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of must be living in Hong Kong and on the waiting list on or before March 31, 2016, for any one of the specified rehabilitation services subsidised by the SWD, for special school with boarding placement under the Education Bureau or for infirmary service of the Hospital Authority;
* the person(s) with disabilities being taken care of must be living in the community without using any residential care service or undergoing long-term hospitalisation while the carer is applying for and receiving the allowance;
* the carer must be capable of taking up the caregiving role, and is required to provide at least 80 hours of caregiving work per month; or not less than 120 hours per month for taking care of more than one person with disabilities at the same time;
* the carer must be a Hong Kong resident living in Hong Kong and not engaged in any form of employment relationship with the person(s) with disabilities under his/her care;
* the carer must not be a recipient of CSSA, Old Age Living Allowance, or allowance in respect of taking care of the same person with disabilities under the "Pilot scheme on living allowance for carers of elderly persons from low-income families" of the CCF; and
* the monthly household income of the carer must not exceed 75 per cent of the relevant Median Monthly Domestic Household Income, excluding assets.
The SWD will start issuing letters tomorrow to persons with disabilities who are on the waiting lists for the services concerned for inviting their carers to apply for the allowance if the eligibility criteria are met. Applicants are required to submit the completed application forms together with all necessary documents by post or by hand to the CCF Team of the SWD on or before January 2, 2017. Upon completion of the vetting, applicants will be notified of the application results in writing. Approved service providers, which are responsible for providing support services, will also approach the carers and the persons with disabilities concerned to arrange the support services and follow up on the arrangement for payment of the allowance accordingly.
Details of the above three pilot schemes can be found on the CCF website (www.communitycarefund.hk) or the SWD website (www.swd.gov.hk). For enquiries, members of the public may call the CCF Team of the SWD on 3422 3090 during office hours.
Ends/Sunday, October 2, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:00
Issued at HKT 11:00