Hong Kong has been transformed from a city of poor migrants in the 1960s to one of the most affluent and influential cities in the world in the 21st century. Despite Hong Kong's impressive economic achievements, many people remain poor, especially the elderly. Increasingly also there are single parent families, the sick and disabled, and the unemployed. A group which experiences sever difficulties is new immigrants from China. These families suffer considerable hardship. As a result, Social Security becomes an important issue in Hong Kong.
Social Security is societal and collective measures to provide financial and psychological security to people of the community ...view middle of the document...
As a result, the Social Welfare Office was established. Public Assistance at that time was really 'emergency relief', they are in kind rather than cash and with considerable exclusions.
In 1967, Lady Gertrude Williams from British Government suggested that Hong Kong should develop the social security based on social insurance. It is because she thought that the Chinese tradition value had changed already. The family system no could no longer caring the minority group such as the elderly, disabled and the unemployed as it had in the past.
But due to the high cost and the complexity, the recommendations were not followed. Instead, in 1971, the Hong Kong government introduced a means-tested Public Assistance Scheme that would deliver benefits in cash. In 1993, CSSA was established.
C. Forms of Social Security in Hong Kong
There are several social security measures in Hong Kong. Most of them cater for the elderly and those with recognized hardship. There is lack of a long term and comprehensive social insurance scheme in Hong Kong. The measures are emergency relief.
It is no doubt that the most important policy issues in Hong Kong are the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), which provide assistance at subsistence level to those with hardship, and the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), which is a retirement scheme. I will further discuss this in the following parts.
Other than these, there are Old age allowance and disability allowances that cater for severely disabled and elderly people. These allowances are non-contributory and non-means tested. In addition, the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme provide support for people injured or killed as a result of crimes of violence or by public officers in law enforcement. The Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme will provide speedy cash assistance to traffic accident victims. Lastly, there is Emergency Relief in the form of grant, hot meals, blankets for those victims of disaster.
D. Strength and Weakness of Social Security in Hong Kong
I. Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA)
CSSA is a non-contributory scheme for the people with recognized hardship. It is a means-test scheme. The applicants should be at least 1-year residents in Hong Kong. In principle, all those in financial need are eligible, including those in employment at low earnings. Total caseload in 1999 over 220,000, but recipients of assistance are mainly old people. $2600 would be given to the successful applicants. The basic rates are intended to cover all essential requirements. Besides the basic rates, supplementary allowances may be paid.
Considering the advantages of CSSA, the basic rates are intended to cover all essential requirements including foods, clothes, transportation cost, etc. The aim is try to help people to maintain their basic living.
Other than the basic rates, supplementary allowances may be paid, such as old age supplement and...