Welfare payments may be split into seven different cash subsidies in an attempt to prevent an over-reliance on the dole. A senior government source said it was difficult for people receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) to get out of the so-called safety net. 'The problem lies with the comprehensive nature of the CSSA scheme,' the source said. 'Currently, a person can't apply for housing and children's study allowances alone. You have to get CSSA first, then other allowances according to your needs. This has created an all-or-nothing situation for recipients and makes it difficult to leave the safety net.' The government is looking to split CSSA into allowances for basic living, child care, medical fees, elderly, elderly residential, school and housing, the source said. 'Welfare recipients will still have to lodge applications, but they can just apply for one or two items,' the official said. But the source said the new arrangement was unlikely to be introduced in the near future. 'Perhaps it won't be implemented until the tenure of the third chief executive starts in 2007.' The Director of Social Welfare, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, told legislators again yesterday that the government would have to take radical measures unless payments were reduced. Ms Lam stressed that spending under the CSSA scheme would rise from $16 billion this financial year to $18.5 billion next year if the proposed cut was rejected. The government wants to cut payments according to the deflation rate, which would be up to 11.1 per cent. 'I have hinted in the past that if we can't find a rational way to better allocate resources, one day we would have to resort to much more severe measures. We can't afford ever-ballooning welfare expenditure,' Ms Lam said.