Low-income new arrivals to get $10k

September 21, 2020

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Community Care Fund (CCF) today announced it will launch the One-off Allowance for New Arrivals from Low-income Families Programme on September 27 to provide $10,000 for each eligible new arrival from low-income families.


Community Care Fund Task Force Chairperson Dr Law Chi-kwong told a press briefing this afternoon that the fund has set aside around $2.13 billion to implement the programme which is expected to benefit about 203,000 people.


“They are also residents of Hong Kong and they are bona fide Hong Kong residents. How are we going to help them? The Community Care Fund is a suitable vehicle for providing this kind of assistance.”


To be eligible, applicants should be aged 18 or above and have settled in Hong Kong for less than seven years as at March 31, 2021.


They should have passed the family or household-based means test establishing eligibility for assistance under one of the specified assistance schemes including the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, Old Age Living Allowance, the Working Family Allowance Scheme, student financial assistance schemes and the Hospital Authority medical fee waiving mechanism.


Those whose average monthly household income in the past three months does not exceed the specified income limit can also apply.


Dr Law said: “Because it is the Community Care Fund, we have to target those who are relatively financially needy. So the eligibility criteria requires this kind of means test, such as they are already within our welfare system or they can prove themselves to be earning a certain amount (below) - as required - the income limit.


“I guess in every community we have to consider, particularly in this difficult time, how to assist everybody who is a bona fide resident of Hong Kong and I think it is truly justified, since the permanent residents can obtain the $10,000. New arrivals who are relatively financially needy in this difficult time, I do think this $10,000 would definitely help them.”


The programme is administered by the fund's task force under the Commission on Poverty. The task force has engaged Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (BOCHK) as the agent bank responsible for accepting and carrying out initial checking of applications and disbursement of the allowance.


The CCF Secretariat is providing administrative support.


Dr Law pointed out that since the programme will be handled through the CCF, the criteria will be slightly different to the Cash Payout Scheme for permanent residents that was launched earlier.


“To use the Community Care fund for any programme, one of the important criteria is whether the one (who) is applying for the programme has some sort of economic or financial need.


“And within the Hong Kong Government’s policies for most of these benefit or welfare programmes, we base (it) on family for doing any kind of assessment.


“The reason we use this is firstly, it is more convenient and secondly, it is fairer - convenient in a sense because most of the welfare or benefit programmes are based on family assessment. So they are already assessed based on family, like the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, the Working Family Allowance, the student finance for various places of schooling - they are all based on family income.”


The programme will be open for applications in stages from September 27 to December 31.


Applicants can submit online applications through the BOCHK website or make paper-form applications. They can choose to receive the allowance by way of bank transfer or an order cheque.


Application forms and guidance notes are available at the CCF website and distribution at BOCHK branches, Home Affairs Enquiry Centres, District Social Welfare Offices and the Support Service Centres for Ethnic Minorities starting from tomorrow.


Call 3988 1810 for enquiries.

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