What are the eligibility criteria of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA)? What is the amount of assistance payable?Social Welfare Department
The Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to individuals and families in need so as to bring their income up to a prescribed level to meet their basic needs.
If you are now receiving Disability Allowance or Old Age Allowance under the Social Security Allowance Scheme and wish to change the allowance into CSSA, please contact the Social Security Field Unit responsible for your Disability Allowance or Old Age Allowance for details.
An applicant is eligible for an allowance under the CSSA Scheme if he/she satisfies the following conditions:
1. Residence Requirements
The applicant must:
- be a Hong Kong resident;
- have held the Hong Kong resident status for not less than one year; and
- have resided in Hong Kong for at least one year (since acquiring the Hong Kong resident status to the date prior to the date of application). The one-year residence need not be continuous or immediately before the date of application. Absence(s) from Hong Kong up to a maximum of 56 days (whether continuous or intermittent) before the date of application is/are treated as residence in Hong Kong.
- Persons whose presence in Hong Kong are unlawful and persons admitted to Hong Kong for a purpose other than residence (i.e. those who are subject to conditions of stay prescribed in Regulation 2 of the Immigration Regulation Cap. 115A, such as imported workers and visitors) are excluded from the CSSA Scheme.
- Hong Kong residents aged below 18 applying for CSSA are exempted from the requirements at (ii) and (iii) above.
- In exceptional circumstances, CSSA may be granted at the discretion of the Director of Social Welfare to a person who does not satisfy the residence requirement.
2. Financial Tests
The applicant must pass both the income and assets tests. If the applicant is living with any other family members, the application has to be made on a household basis. The total resources and needs of all family members in the same household are taken into account in determining the family’s eligibility for assistance. In other words, the monthly income and expenses of all family members will be calculated together.
- Income Test
- The applicant and his/her family will be eligible for CSSA if their total assessable monthly household income is insufficient to meet their total monthly needs as recognized under the Scheme. When assessing a family’s resources, training allowance and earnings from employment of those meeting the prescribed criteria can be disregarded up to a prescribed level.
- Assets Test
- The total value of the capital assets in Hong Kong, Macau, the Mainland or overseas countries/territories (including land/properties (Note), cash, bank savings, cash value of insurance policies, investments in stocks and shares, and other readily realizable assets) held by the applicant and his/her family members must not exceed the following prescribed limit:
- Note：All non-owner-occupied residential properties are treated as assets. The value of an owner-occupied residential property is treated in the following manner:
- The value of the property is totally disregarded for the asset test in cases where there is any member being old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health;
- Where there is an able-bodied adult aged below 50 in the family and no other member being old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health, the value of the property will be included for the asset test after a grace period of 12 months;
- For single parents with young children, the Director of Social Welfare may, at his discretion, extend the grace period to allow single parents to continue to receive assistance without disposing of their residential property, subject to meeting the following two conditions: the youngest child in the family is below 15 ; and the total value of the assets held by the family, including the net value of the owner-occupied residential property, is insufficient to meet the family’s maintenance for ten years according to CSSA standards. The owner-occupied residential property of these single parent families will not be included for the asset test until the youngest child reaches 15.
Single person cases
(a) Cases involving any able-bodied adult
Note: An elderly person is defined as one aged 65 or above, or aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1 February 2020.
[For example, the asset limit of a 7-member family, including two able-bodied adults, three able-bodied children, one disabled child and one elderly person, is HK$163,000（i.e. $88,000+$75,000）]
(b) Cases involving no able-bodied adult
3. Additional criteria for able-bodied adults
A person aged 15-59 in normal health has to meet one of the following conditions :
- not being available for work for reasons acceptable to SWD (for example, studying or having to look after young children or sick or disabled family members at home); or
- earning not less than HK$2,395 per month and working not less than 120 hours per month; or
- in the case of being unemployed or earning less than HK$2,395per month or working less than 120 hours per month, actively seeking full-time jobs and participating in the Support for Self-reliance Scheme of SWD.
The Support for Self-reliance (SFS) Scheme is a programme under the CSSA Scheme, which aims to encourage and assist able-bodied persons aged 15 to 59 and being unemployed or working part-time or earning less than the prescribed amount set by SWD to move towards full-time paid employment and self-reliance while providing them with financial assistance. The Scheme comprises the Employment Support Services (EmSS), and the arrangement of Disregarded Earnings.
CSSA Payments can be broadly classified into following three types. For the exact payment of a case, please contact the staff of Social Security Field Units.
1. Standard Rates
Standard rates are paid to different categories of CSSA recipients to meet their basic needs.
- Long-term Supplement
- An annual long-term supplement is payable to families involving any member who is old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health for the replacement of household and durable goods if they have received assistance continuously for 12 months or more. The amount payable depends on the number of such eligible members in the family.
- Single Parent Supplement
- A monthly single parent supplement is payable to single parent families to recognize the special difficulties which single parents face in bringing up a family.
- Community Living Supplement
- With effect from 1 August 2020, apart from those recipients who are old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health and who are not living in institutions, Community Living Supplement has been extended to cover able-bodied adult recipients who are aged 60 to 64 and not living in institutions, to better support their stay in the community.
- Transport supplement
- A monthly transport supplement is payable to severely disabled persons who are medically certified to be 100% disabled or in need of constant attendance and in the age group of 12 to 64 to encourage them to participate more in activities away from home, thereby enhancing their integration into society.
- Residential care supplement
- With effect from 1 Jun 2012, a monthly residential care supplement is payable to CSSA recipients who are old, disabled or medically certified to be in ill-health and who are living in non-subsidised residential care place and not receiving Portable CSSA to ease their financial burden.
- Employment support supplement
- With effect from 1 Feb 2019, a monthly supplement is payable to able-bodied adult recipients aged between 60 and 64 to encourage them to join the labour market and remain in employment.
3. Special Grants
Recipients under different categories can receive special grants on a monthly or one-off basis (such as rent allowance, grant to cover school fees, special diet allowance etc.) to meet their personal or family’s special needs. Applicants may contact the staff of the social security field unit for enquiries.
Please click here for the application procedures of CSSA Scheme.