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What is the definition of ‘severely disabled’ under the Disability Allowance?

Social Welfare Department

Definition of ‘severely disabled’

A person will be considered as severely disabled within the meaning of this Scheme if he/she is certified by the Director of Health or the Chief Executive, Hospital Authority (or under exceptional circumstances by a registered medical practitioner of a private hospital) as falling into one of the following categories :


  1. Disabling Physical or Mental Condition

1.   Loss of functions of two limbs

2.    Loss of functions of both hands or of all fingers and both thumbs

3.    Loss of functions of both feet

4.    Total loss of sight

5.    Total paralysis (quadriplegia)

6.    Paraplegia

7.    Illness, injury or deformity resulting in being bedridden

8.    Any other conditions including visceral diseases which produces a degree of disablement as specified(Note). That means, a person is suffering from a disabling physical or mental condition (including but not limited to organic brain syndrome, intellectual disability, psychosis, neurosis, personality disorder) which produces a degree of disablement broadly equivalent to that in (1) to (7) above, that it is to say, the person needs substantial help from others to cope with daily life.


  1. Profoundly Deaf

This means that a person, who suffers from a perceptive or mixed deafness with a hearing loss of 85 decibels or more in the better ear for pure tone frequencies of 500, 1 000 and 2 000 cycles per second, or 75 to 85 decibels with other physical handicaps which include lack of speech and distortion of hearing.


(Note)  The severe disability produces significant restriction or lack of ability or volition comparing to other persons of the same age to perform at least one or more of the following activities in daily living to the extent that substantial help from others is required:

(i)    working in the original occupation and performing any other kind of work for which he/she is suited (not applicable for person aged below 15 years)
(ii)    coping with self-care and personal hygiene such as feeding, dressing, grooming, toileting and/or bathing
(iii)    maintaining one’s posture and dynamic balance while standing or sitting, for daily activities, managing indoor transfer (bed/chair, floor/chair, toilet transfer), travelling to clinic, school, place of work
(iv)    expressing oneself, communicating and interacting with others, maintaining cognitive abilities (orientation, attention, concentration, memory, judgment, thinking, learning ability, etc.), maintaining emotional control and social behavior

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Last update: 9 Mar 2021
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