Entitlement and access to public health care services

Waiver of public health care expenses

Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (“CSSA”) do not have to pay for public health care.

To be eligible for CSSA, an applicant must satisfy the residence requirement and the relevant financial tests. The applicant must have been a Hong Kong resident for at least one year. Any applicant who became a Hong Kong resident before 1 January 2004 is exempt from the residence requirement, but must pass both the income and asset tests set by the Social Welfare Department. For more details about CSSA, please refer to “Social Welfare for the Elderly”.

Non-CSSA recipients who cannot afford public sector medical expenses can apply for a medical fee waiver at the Medical Social Services Units of public hospitals and clinics, or at the Integrated Family Services Centres or Family and Child Protective Services Units of the Social Welfare Department.

CSSA should not be confused with the SSA, which provides a monthly allowance to Hong Kong residents who are severely disabled or who are 65 years of age or above.

The residence requirements are also different. To be eligible for the SSA, the applicant must have been a Hong Kong resident for at least seven years (persons who became Hong Kong residents before 1 January 2004 are exempt from this residence requirement) and must have resided in Hong Kong continuously for at least one year immediately before the date of application (absence from Hong Kong up to a maximum of 56 days during the one-year period is treated as residence in Hong Kong).

Further, the applicant must continue to reside in Hong Kong to be eligible for the SSA.

Hong Kong senior citizens residing in the Mainland might not be eligible for the SSA (except Guangdong Scheme and Fujian Scheme) if they cannot satisfy the residence requirement.
However, that would not affect their right to access to public health care services in Hong Kong if they are holders of a permanent or non-permanent Hong Kong identity card.

There is no “double benefit” in the sense that recipients of CSSA are not eligible for SSA.