Old age allowance
Commonly known as "fruit money", the old age allowance is a monthly cash subsidy the Hong Kong government pays to senior citizens aged 65-69 with low incomes, and all elderly citizens aged 70 and over. The Leung Chun-ying administration in 2012 proposed to introduce a new means-tested subsidy called the Old Age Living Allowance, which provides HK$2,200 per month for the needy only.
Labour Party calls for scrapping of old age allowance means test
Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said on Monday that the government’s proposal for a new subsidy for the elderly will probably be passed in the Legislative Council in spite of his party's opposition to the controversial means test proviso.
Cheung said his party was calling for the scrapping of the controversial means test on the new Old Age Living Allowance so that the allowance could act as an interim measure until the government was prepared to introduce a universal pension scheme.
The means test for the allowance of HK$2,200 is capped at an asset value of HK$186,000 and a monthly income of HK$6,600 for anyone aged 65 or above.
If the law fails to pass because of the Labour Party’s stance, “the party will take responsibility for it,” he said in a radio programme on Monday, even though he said the was aware that some elderly want the government’s proposal passed as proposed.
Another speaker on the radio programme, Law Chi-kwong, associate social sciences professor at the University of Hong Kong, disagreed with Cheung saying the means test was necessary to avoid saddling the government with an undue financial burden and draining resources from other anti-poverty initiatives.