Lam: Legco approved elderly CSSA eligible age change

Local | 10 Jan 2019 12:32 pm

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor deflected criticisms today over increasing the eligible age for elderly social welfare from 60 to 65, saying it was lawmakers who approved the changes.

There's been a public outcry about the decision to raise the age threshold for elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance starting in February, with critics accusing the government of treating poor elderly people badly.

But the Hong Kong leader said today that she is shocked about the outpouring of criticism as it was lawmakers who approved the plan as part of the budget last year, RTHK reported.

She made the comment during Legislative Council's question-and-answer session as she replied to New People's Party lawmaker Eunice Yung Hoi-yan's query whether Lam would scrap the unpopular plan to raise the age eligibility.

"That was approved by you in the 2018-19 budget or the Appropriation Bill. That was approved by Legco. I was astonished by what you said”, Lam told Yung.

The SAR chief also said it's "an undeniable fact" that more older people are hitting the job market, and the government's been trying hard to help them get jobs.

She said in 2016, 32.5 percent of those aged between 60 and 64 were working; and the number rose to 45.2 percent in 2017.

Lam stressed that the change in elderly CSSA age eligibility doesn't mean poor people can't apply for social welfare, as they can still apply for assistance under the able-bodied non-elderly adults category.

The Democratic party's Roy Kwong Chun-yu and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's Wilson Or Chong-shing were also critical of the changes.

Or said the DAB, the biggest pro-Beijing party, disagrees with the change.

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