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What are the application procedures and the payment arrangement for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme?

Social Welfare Department

Application procedures of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme

How to apply

A person can make an application directly to a Social Security Field Unit near to his/her place of residence by phone, by fax, by e-mail, by post, by online form or in person. An application may also be made through a referral to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) by another government department or a non-governmental organization. Upon receipt of an application, staff of SWD will conduct investigation and verification of the applicant’s circumstances and information provided through office interview and home visit. All application procedures are processed in Hong Kong.


Persons unfit to apply

If an applicant is aged below 18 without a parent or legal guardian or is an adult aged 18 or above who has been medically certified to be unfit to make a statement on his/her own, an appointee will be appointed by the Director of Social Welfare to act on his/her behalf. Please contact Social Security Field Unit for details.


Documents / Information required

Depending on the circumstances of individual cases, staff of SWD will ask the applicant and his/her family members to produce the following documents; the applicant should ask the SWD staff responsible for his/her case on the documents required after the application is submitted :

  • Identity documents (such as Hong Kong Identity Cards (for those aged 11 or above), Birth Certificates (for those aged below 11) and Certificate of Exemption, etc.)
  • Marriage certificates or documents of divorce, if applicable
  • Proofs of accommodation expenses (such as rent receipts, rent card, tenancy agreement, receipts of water & sewage charge, demands for rates and receipts of management fee, etc.)
  • Proofs of assets (including those in Hong Kong, Macau, the Mainland or overseas) (such as bank passbooks and bank statements showing the latest balance, time deposit receipts, insurance policy statements, stocks, proof of property/land ownership and other documentary proofs of valuable possessions, etc.)
  • Proofs of educational expenses (such as receipts of school fee and school bus fee, etc.) and student handbooks
  • Travel documents (such as Passports, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Re-entry Permit, HKSAR Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, Hong Kong Entry Permit, Home Visit Permit and One-way Permit, etc.)
  • Proofs of income (such as Mandatory Provident Fund pay-records, pay slips and, employer’s statement, etc.)
  • Medical follow-up cards/appointment slips
  • Proofs of financial relationship with other family members (including parents and siblings)
  • Other relevant documents as required by SWD.

Where necessary, SWD will make enquiries to the Director of Health/Chief Executive of Hospital Authority for medical reports, or to the applicant’s employer/ex-employer for verification. SWD will also seek information related to the applicant and his/her family members from the Immigration Department, other government departments and organizations (including banks).


Notification of Result of Application, Payment Method and Permissible Limits of Absence from Hong Kong During Receipt of Assistance
  • After completion of investigation, a formal notification letter will be sent to the applicant.
  • If the application is successful, a detailed breakdown of the components of the monthly payment, pay-day, payment method and period of payment will be indicated in the notification letter.
  • If the application is unsuccessful, the reason(s) for rejection will be given in the notification letter.
  • If the applicant disagrees with a decision made by SWD, he/she has the right to lodge an appeal with the Social Security Appeal Board.
  • CSSA payment will be calculated from the date of receipt of the application by SWD (or the date of application or referral if the application is referred by another organization) or the date of eligibility, whichever is the later.
  • Able-bodied unemployed adults aged 15-59 are required to participate in the Support for Self-reliance Scheme as a condition of receiving assistance. Their monthly entitlement normally starts one month after the date of application. However, in genuine hardship cases, the Director of Social Welfare may, at his discretion, make payment from the date of application.
  • CSSA payment is usually credited to the applicant's /guardian's / appointee's designated bank account in Hong Kong (joint bank account is not accepted) once a month. The pay-day will be contained in the notification letter (pay-day can be any day between 1st to 28th of a month and will vary from case to case). Under exceptional circumstances, special delivery of cash directly to the applicant can be arranged. For urgent cases, cash payment may be paid to the applicant at the social security field unit.
  • A recipient’s temporary absences from Hong Kong will not affect the amount of assistance payable on condition that the total number of days of absence in a payment year (which is counted from 1 July to 30 June of the following year) does not exceed the permissible limit as follows :
    • Aged 65 or above, or medically certified to be disabled, or aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1 February 2019: 180 days per year
    • Other recipients : 60 days per year (If there are special reasons why these recipients have to leave Hong Kong for more than 60 days in a year, the permissible limit of absence from Hong Kong can be extended up to a maximum of 90 days at the discretion of the Director of Social Welfare.)
    • Please click here for details.
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Last update: 15 Aug 2023
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