Social Welfare System in Hong Kong

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Question 1:
Identify one type of the social welfare, discuss its services of Hong Kong and a)explain its values, rationales and objectives;
b)ways of service delivery;
c)discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the service and d)make suggestions to improve the services in future.

CSSA—AN INTRODUCTION
The comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA) is surely one of the most influential social welfare in Hong Kong, in terms of money and beneficiary. In the fiscal year of 2010 alone, 19 billion was spent on CSSA, which increased noticeably by 40% as compared with the expenditure ten years ago. As at the end of 2009, total number of CSSA cases amounted to 289 139, representing an increase of 25.3% over 1999. CSSA accounted for 8.6% of government recurrent expenditure, compared with 7.5% in 2000. During 1999 to 2009, the average growth in total number of cases per annum was 2.3%. In fact, the growth rate of CSSA cases is expected to accelerate because the growth of elderly population will peak in 2016-2026. In other words, the problem is not coming yet. But it will within 10 years. In view of the potential alarming situation, there is an urgent need to investigate the effectiveness of the scheme. This essay will give a brief review of the captioned scheme as well as to discuss possible ways to improve the services in the future, making the most effective use of government resources.

CSSA—ITS VALUES, RATIONALES AND OBJECTIVES
The CSSA Scheme was introduced in 1993, replacing the former Public Assistance Scheme, and evolved over the past 20 years into the current complex system. It is designed to provide a safety net for individuals or families who cannot support themselves financially for various reasons such as old age, disability, illness, unemployment and low earnings. The CSSA Scheme provides financial assistance to bring the income of such individuals or families up to a prescribed level to meet their basic needs. All CSSA recipients are entitled to free medical treatment at public hospitals or clinics. It is administered by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and is non-contributory but means-tested. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible for assistance, the applicant must satisfy the residence requirements, that is, to have resided in Hong Kong continuously for at least one year before the date of application and be a Hong Kong resident for seven years. Yet, exception can be granted for discretion. They must also pass both the income and assets tests. To pass the income test means the applicant’s total assessable monthly household income is insufficient to meet their total monthly needs as recognized under the Scheme. To pass the asset test means the total value of the capital assets held by the applicant is below the prescribed limit. If the applicant lives with other family members, the application shall be made on a household basis. On top of the basic subsistence support, there is a number of supplements, like disability, old age, community living, single parent, transport supplement, which is too excessive to mention here.

A person can make an application directly to a social security field unit, or by referral to the Social Welfare Department by another government department or a non-governmental organization. Upon receipt of an application, staff of the SWD will conduct investigation and verification of the applicant’s circumstances. It is usually completed in a month and is very convenient.

CSSA—ITS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Generally speaking CSSA has been quite effective in providing a safety nets towards the needy, whether the amount of grants is sufficient or not is subject to argument, one has to acknowledge the fact that there is no major starvation/freezing death caused by poverty in recent years. The general living conditions and nutrition’s of the poor improved, compared many years ago. In the past, social welfare is just a feeding...
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