SWD makes arrangements for elderly to apply for Higher Old Age Living Allowance by phases from today
The first phase - Auto-conversion: the SWD is issuing Green Notification Letters today to the Normal OALA recipients who, according to the SWD's records, meet the monthly income and asset limits of the Higher OALA applicable on May 1, 2017 (monthly income at $7,750 and asset at $144,000 for single persons; and monthly income at $12,620 and asset at $218,000 for married couples). Elderly persons meeting the above income and asset limits will be automatically converted to receive the Higher OALA without having to reply or to make a fresh application. They will receive a lump-sum retrospective payment (after deducting the payment of allowance already made for the corresponding period) counting from May 1, 2017 or the date of eligibility, whichever is later, through their bank accounts currently used for receiving the Normal OALA starting from June this year. Elderly persons with monthly income and/or assets exceeding the above limits or those who opt not to switch to the Higher OALA should complete the reply slip attached to the Notification Letter and return it to the SWD by post on or before May 3 this year.
The second phase - Postal Submission: the SWD will issue the Yellow Notification Letters on May 2 this year to Normal OALA recipients not included in the Auto-conversion arrangements and Higher Disability Allowance (DA) recipients aged 65 or above; and issue the Yellow Notification Letters on June 1 to Old Age Allowance (OAA) recipients and Normal DA recipients aged 65 or above. Elderly persons who opt for the Higher OALA should complete and return the postal submission application form attached to the Notification Letter to the SWD by post on or before December 31. They need not approach the SWD's social security field units in person for making application. Upon receipt of the application forms, the SWD will verify their eligibility as soon as possible.
The third phase - New Application: Elderly persons aged 65 or above not receiving Normal OALA/OAA/DA may make application for the Higher OALA starting from June this year. Elderly persons may make applications by fax, by e-mail, by post, through referral by government departments/non-governmental organisations, or by visiting the social security field units near to their place of residence. Application forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from the website of the SWD and are available at social security field units starting from June. The SWD staff will arrange interview appointments with the applicants after receiving their applications.
Eligible elderly persons whose applications are received on or before December 31 this year will receive the Higher OALA dating back to May 1, 2017 as soon as possible.
For elderly persons whose assets exceed the limits of the Higher OALA, they may consider applying for Normal OALA if they meet the relevant criteria. However, the lump-sum retrospective payment arrangement is not applicable to Normal OALA applications.
Elderly persons must meet all the eligibility criteria for the Higher OALA, including age requirement, residence requirements and income and asset requirements so as to receive a lump-sum retrospective payment (after deducting the payment of allowance already made for the corresponding period). The relevant requirements and arrangements for application are set out in Annex.
A spokesman for the SWD said, "The SWD will start broadcasting TV and radio Announcements in the Public Interest from April this year and distribute leaflets to remind elderly persons of the relevant application procedures.” He appealed to elderly persons to apply for the Higher OALA as scheduled and there is no need for them to queue up at the social security field units.
For details about the Higher OALA, please visit the SWD's website www.swd.gov.hk/oala or call the Enquiry Line on 3595 0130 during office hours (Monday to Friday at 8.45am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm).
Ends/Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Issued at HKT 11:55
Issued at HKT 11:55