LCQ14: Welfare services for Hong Kong elderly persons residing on the Mainland
Regarding Hong Kong elderly people (i.e. persons aged 65 or above) residing on the Mainland, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it knows the number of Hong Kong elderly people residing on the Mainland in each of the past three years and its percentage in the elderly population in the respective year;
(2) of the respective numbers of Hong Kong elderly people residing on the Mainland who received (i) Old Age Allowance under the Guangdong Scheme and (ii) Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments under the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, in each of the past three years, and the respective total amounts of money involved;
(3) whether it knows the social service agencies that are providing social services on the Mainland for Hong Kong elderly people residing on the Mainland; if it knows, of the names of the agencies concerned and the details of the services provided by them; and
(4) whether it has assessed and analysed the reasons for and the trend of elderly people opting to reside on the Mainland; if it has, of the details; whether it has any plan to implement a comprehensive cross-boundary welfare policy for Hong Kong elderly people residing on the Mainland; if it does, of the contents of the relevant policy?
My reply to the Hon Leung Che-cheung's question is set out below.
(1) The latest household survey by the Census and Statistics Department on the characteristics of Hong Kong elderly persons residing on the Mainland was conducted between February and March 2011. According to the above survey, there were 78 200 Hong Kong residents aged 65 or above who had stayed on the Mainland for a period of at least one month in the past six months before the time of enumeration. On the other hand, as at mid-2011, there were around 941 000 elderly persons aged 65 or above in Hong Kong.
(2) The Social Welfare Department (SWD) administers the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme under the CSSA Scheme whereby eligible Hong Kong elderly persons who have received CSSA continuously for at least one year and choose to retire in Guangdong or Fujian may continue to receive financial assistance, including the monthly standard rates and annual long-term supplement. SWD also administers the Guangdong Scheme to enable eligible Hong Kong elderly persons who choose to reside in Guangdong to receive the Old Age Allowance without having to return to Hong Kong every year. From 2014-15 to 2016-17, the number of recipients of and total expenditure on the Portable CSSA Scheme and the Guangdong Scheme are set out in the Annex.
(3) In respect of the Portable CSSA Scheme and Guangdong Scheme mentioned above, SWD has appointed the International Social Service Hong Kong Branch as the agent to assist in the implementation of the Schemes. The responsibilities of the agent include conducting home visits to follow up on the recipients' conditions and to ensure their continued eligibility to receive the assistance, handling enquiries from recipients and other persons/organisations in Guangdong and Fujian, etc.
SWD has, since June 2014, implemented the Pilot Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong to provide another option for eligible Hong Kong elderly persons on the Central Waiting List for subsidised care-and-attention places to choose to live in the two residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs) in Guangdong operated by Hong Kong non-governmental organisations (Hong Kong Jockey Club Shenzhen Society for Rehabilitation Yee Hong Heights and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Helping Hand Zhaoqing Home for the Elderly). As at end-October 2016, a total of 132 elderly persons had participated or were participating in the Scheme and resided in the two RCHEs.
Besides, the pilot scheme for the use of the Elderly Health Care Voucher (EHV) at The University of Hong Kong – Shenzhen Hospital (HKU-SZ Hospital) was launched on October 6, 2015 to allow eligible Hong Kong elderly persons to use EHV to pay for designated outpatient services at the Hospital. The pilot scheme aims to provide one more service point for Hong Kong elderly persons to use EHV and facilitate those who reside on the Mainland or places near Shenzhen (e.g. the North District in the New Territories) to seek necessary medical services. As at end-October 2016, 1 060 elderly persons had used EHV at the HKU-SZ Hospital.
(4) We appreciate that Hong Kong elderly persons, especially those who came to Hong Kong from the Mainland at a younger age, may choose to reside on the Mainland. The Government respects the wish of Hong Kong elderly persons who choose to reside on the Mainland and seeks to facilitate those elderly persons who make such a choice through various schemes mentioned above. We will continue to keep in view the situation of elderly persons residing on the Mainland and review the measures mentioned above at suitable intervals.
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:10
Issued at HKT 14:10