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Providing additional allowances in time

Today, the Social Welfare Department deposited a total of $5.543 billion into about 1.2 million bank accounts to provide a one-off additional payment to recipients of Old Age Allowance (OAA) (including those payable under the Guangdong (GD) Scheme), Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and Disability Allowance (DA) under the Social Security Allowance Scheme, as well as recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). The additional payment is equal to two months of the allowances or the CSSA standard rates.

Of these people, about 130 000 are DA recipients, while a further 810 000 or so are elderly people aged 65 or above, including about 420 000 OALA recipients, 220 000 OAA recipients, 20 000 GD Scheme recipients and 150 000 CSSA recipients aged 65 or above.

In view of the filibuster in the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the proposal for the establishment of an Innovation and Technology Bureau, I announced on June 19 that 11 items concerning people's livelihood would be put to the LegCo Finance Committee before that proposal. A week later, on June 26, the LegCo Finance Committee approved the funding for the additional payments mentioned above.

I am grateful to my colleagues in the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Social Welfare Department. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, the additional payments could be deposited into the bank accounts of some 1.2 million beneficiaries today to realise the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's commitment to alleviating poverty, caring for the elderly and supporting the disadvantaged.

July 24, 2015