Elderly feel the strain of lopsided welfare rule

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 June, 2006, 12:00am

As soon as her son graduated and started collecting a pay cheque, Rita Ho Wai-ling began running into financial hardship.

Ms Ho, 61, receives just $9 a month through the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), compared with the $2,700 she received before her son graduated.

The Social Welfare Department calculates her welfare benefits on a household basis. But her son's $6,000 monthly salary from repairing computers is not enough to support himself, Ms Ho, his younger brother studying at City University and pay a rent of $1,109.

Ms Ho said welfare officers suggested she could receive more subsidies by living separately from her son.

She said she did not take the advice because she did not want her son 'living under the bridge'.

Social welfare sector legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said many elderly people were not willing to live apart from their children.

The children, in turn, do not want to sign welfare statements because they see it as admission of the fact that they cannot take care of their parents.