No matter a person has started to save up for his or her retirement life when he or she was young, the person will still be worried about the adequacy of such savings in meeting the day-to-day and medical expenses in his or her later life. For medical expenses in particular, one can never been certain how much is sufficient. If a person is unfortunate enough to get very sick and require long-term treatment, the savings which would have let him lead an easy life could all be gone, leaving him in terrible financial difficulty. Therefore, it is essential for us to know what is available for the elderly, such as the support and services any elderly person may have access to, so that people of the green age are prepared, not that they would need the services, but at least to be aware of what is available in the event of unexpected difficulties.
Senior Citizen Cards
Any person who is 65 years old may apply for a Senior Citizen Card. The holder of the Card may enjoy the concessions, discounts and priority services given by the Government, public transport operators and commercial enterprises for elderly persons. It is free of charge for first application, and $22 for replacement. The applicant may bring along their certificates of proof and go to the office for Senior Citizens Cards at Room 2204 of Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, or they may submit their application by mail. For details please see:
Public Transport Fare Concessions for the Elderly
Elderly persons who have reached the age of 65 may ride on specified means of public transport at a fare of $2 per journey at any date and time. The aim of this concession is to encourage elderly persons to take an active part in activities beneficial to their mind and body. The concessionary fare is applicable to local services of the Mass Transport Railway (but not including the Airport Express, East Rail services to and from Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and the Race Course, as well as first class service for the East Rail), franchised buses, specified ferry services and green minibuses. For details please see:
Old Age Allowance (“fruit money”)
The Old Age Allowance (OAA) is a cash allowance for Hong Kong residents aged 70 or above. This is to assist these elderly persons in meeting their special needs arising from old age. The OAA is directly paid into the bank account of the recipient each month and is not subject to any means test. For details please see:
Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme
Every elderly person aged 65 or above and who holds a Hong Kong identity card or a Certificate of Exemption may be allocated a voucher amount of $2,000 each year to enable the elder to choose the private health care service which is most suitable. Such service includes treatment and preventive health care service meant to complement the existing public sector health care services. Each eligible elder may open an eHealth System (Subsidies) account with any service provider registered with the scheme. The voucher amount will be deposited into the eHealth System (Subsidies) Account of the elder concerned. The elders may preserve and accumulate the unused voucher amount up to a maximum of $4,000. For details please see:
Old Age Living Allowance
The aim of the Old Age Living Allowance is to provide a special allowance each month to Hong Kong residents aged 65 and above who are in need of financial support to supplement their living expenses. For details please see:
Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme
Elders with financial difficulties may apply for CSSA to meet their basic needs in life. All CSSA elderly recipients meeting the relevant requirements may apply for the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme if they choose to live their retirement life in Guangdong or Fujian provinces. They can continue to receive cash assistance. For details please see: CSSA
Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme
Community Care Fund allowance for elderly persons renting private buildings (Subject to checking)
Elders aged 65 or above and who do not receive the CSSA or hold any property in Hong Kong and whose household monthly income does not exceed the prescribed amount may apply to the Community Care Fund for an allowance to rent private buildings.
Community Assistance in Kind
For elders in need and who have financial problem, they may obtain assistance in kind from certain welfare organizations in the form of food, furniture, electrical appliances, household repairs, communication equipment, free or inexpensive services in Chinese medicine, Western medicine, ophthalmology, dental services and so on. For details please see:
Health Care Assistance Schemes under the Samaritan Fund and the Community Care Fund
The Samaritan Fund provides financial assistance to needy patients who have passed a means test to enable them to pay for self-financing medical items or fees for new technologies outside the scope of standard items covered by public hospitals and clinics in the course of their treatment. The scope of subsidy covers self-financing medicine and medical items.
Through the health care assistance schemes under the Community Care Fund certain self-financing cancer medicine with proven higher efficacy have been incorporated into the scope of the Samaritan Fund since 2012. The eligibility criteria for means test are also relaxed when application is made. For details please see:
Other Social Services Provided for the Elderly
Apart from government departments, many non-government organizations and community service organizations also provide various services and information support for the elderly. These include 24-hour emergency call system which enables elders to talk directly to emergency call attendants for assistance in case of emergency. For details please see: