Social welfare for the elderly

Guangdong Scheme

The Guangdong Scheme will be launched on 1 October 2013 and is receiving applications now. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide the Old Age Allowance (Fruit Money), on a monthly basis, for eligible Hong Kong people aged 65 or above who choose to reside in Guangdong. From 1 February 2015, the recipients will get a monthly cash allowance of $1,235 if they satisfy the minimum residence period of 60 days in Guangdong in a payment year, along with the other requirements.

Eligibility

Income and asset limits

For people aged 70 or above, there is no income or assets assessment.
For people aged 65 to 69, their income and assets cannot exceed the following limits:

Asset Limit (HKD)

Monthly Income Limit (HKD)

For a single person

$219,000

$ 7,580

For a married couple

$332,000

$12,290

"Income" includes:

  • wages from employment;
  • income from handiwork, business, etc. (including salaries, wages, monthly commissions or bonuses, and monthly income from self-employment);
  • retirement benefits/pensions; and
  • net income from rentals collected.

Contributions from family members, relatives or friends, and monthly payments received under the reverse-mortgage scheme are excluded, but any accumulated and unspent savings/cash in hand is treated as part of the applicant’s “assets”.

“Assets” include:

  • land or other non-owner occupied properties;
  • cash in hand;
  • bank savings;
  • investments in shares and stocks (including bonds, trust funds and accrued retirement benefits);
  • vehicles for investment (e.g. taxi or public light bus) and their business licences; and
  • gold bars, gold coins, etc.

Also excluded are owner-occupied properties, a columbarium niche for self-use in the future, and the cash value of insurance schemes.

Only the value of one residential property which is the applicant’s principal place of residence in Guangdong is not included in the “assets”. Other properties separately or jointly owned by applicants and/or their spouse are regarded as "non-owner occupied properties" and are taken into account in the assessment of "assets".

Assets in Hong Kong, Macau, the Mainland and overseas are included.

Residence requirements

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • They have been Hong Kong residents for at least seven years; and
  • They must have continuously resided in Hong Kong for at least one year before the date of application (see Note below).

Note:

Absence from Hong Kong no more than 56 days during the one-year period is treated as residence in Hong Kong.

Consideration can be given to disregarding absences of more than 56 days because of paid work outside Hong Kong during the one-year period, if there is sufficient documentary proof.

If an applicant has been away from Hong Kong for more than 56 days during the one-year period in order to receive medical treatment outside Hong Kong, the Director of Social Welfare can consider exercising his discretion to disregard the 56-day limit requirement, depending on the reason for receiving medical treatment outside Hong Kong and the evidence provided.

Absence from Hong Kong means leaving Hong Kong for the Mainland, Macau or overseas countries/territories.

Other requirements

  • They continue to reside in Guangdong while receiving the allowance;
  • They are not receiving any other allowances under the Social Security Allowance Scheme or assistance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme;
  • They are not being detained in legal custody or in a penal institution;
  • They have surrendered their public rental unit or removed their name from the tenancy if they were authorized public housing tenants.

Application procedure

  1. Applicants are first required to complete the Guangdong Scheme Application Form (click here to download the form ) and return the Form by post, together with the following supporting documents:
    • photocopies of any documents confirming the applicant’s identity and age (e.g. Hong Kong Identity Card or Birth Certificate);
    • photocopies of any documents confirming the applicant’s residential address in Hong Kong/Guangdong (e.g. rental receipts or utilities bills);
    • photocopies of the applicant’s Hong Kong bank account passbook (the page showing the account name and account number); and
    • two recent photos.
      The postal address is:
      Social Security Field Unit (Guangdong Scheme)
      Unit 2110-2111, 21/F., Landmark North, 39 Lung Sum Avenue, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong.

  2. When the application is received, an officer of the Social Welfare Department may ask for supplementary information if necessary.

  3. An officer of the Social Welfare Department will then make arrangements with the applicant for an interview at the Social Security Field Unit (Guangdong Scheme). The applicant has to attend the interview in person in Hong Kong and provide the relevant documents in order to complete the application.

Note: In the first year of the Guangdong Scheme, for applicants who have been residing in Guangdong and can provide medical proof(s) issued by a public hospital/clinic showing that they may not be able to travel to Hong Kong for the interview, the SWD will appoint an agent to provide assistance to the applicants in completing the application procedures.

Receiving the allowance

As long as the eligible people meet all the eligibility criteria, from 1 February 2015, they can receive the monthly allowance of HK$1,235. The allowance will be deposited to the Hong Kong bank account designated by the applicant. If recipients want to transfer the allowance to Guangdong, they have to make the arrangements themselves and pay for any fees charged for the transfer.

Enquiries

Guangdong Scheme hotline: 3105 3266

Social Security Field Unit (Guangdong Scheme)
Address: Unit 2110-2111, 21/F., Landmark North, 39 Lung Sum Avenue, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong.
Website: www.swd.gov.hk/gds

You can download the Application Guidance Notes here.