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The Social security system in Hong Kong. In the essay, we would concentrate on discussing the strength and weakness of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION What is social security? Social security is one type of welfare provided by the Hong Kong government for helping the citizens when they face difficulty in their daily lives. In Hong Kong, there are different services in the social security system for citizens against certain risk in and contingences of life such as unemployment, retirement, accident, poverty and disability. The aim of social security in Hong Kong is providing financial or material assistance to meet the basic and special needs of the members of the community. Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, Social Security Allowance Scheme, Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme, Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme and Emergency Relief are administrated by the Social Welfare Department in the social security system. These schemes actually give a helping hand to their specific targets by providing income protection, distributing resources over one's lifetime and societal pooling of risks and recourses. In the essay, we would concentrate on discussing the strength and weakness of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). Why do we need Social Security System in Hong Kong? Background: 1. After 1997, the economic crisis broke out in Hong Kong, many employers chose to employ less workers or even fired off their employees to cut down the expenditure. It leaded to a significantly rise in unemployment rate. The number of (unemployment( cases increased over 6 times from 3,500 in September 1993 to 26,200 in September 1998, representing 12% of the current total CSSA caseload. 2. The (single parent( cases also registered a disproportionate increase in the same period as divorce became more and more common nowadays. The number of these cases rose from 5,700 in September 1993 to 20,900 in September 1998, a terrible increase of 268%. More importantly, many single parents are female who aged 30-40. The rest are single fathers from cases of split families in which their Mainland wives have not yet been able to reunite with the families. ...read more.

Middle

The following are the recommendations to strengthen the control to safeguard public expenditure against fraud and abuse: (a) To resume home visits for all CSSA new cases; (b) To reinforce the gate-keeping mechanism whereby we will strictly require all CSSA applicants to apply on a household basis if they are living with other income-earning family members; (c) To pay more home visits to targeted CSSA cases which are more likely to experience fluctuations in their financial situation during their receipt of assistance; and (d) To strengthen the Special Investigation Team of Social Welfare Department to tackle suspected fraud cases. (e) To liaise the Social Welfare Department with other government departments, such as Immigration Department, Civil Service Bureau, Lands Registry, to verify the applications in a bid to detect suspected fraud cases more effectively. B. Support for Self-reliance (SFS) Scheme The aim of SFS Scheme is encouraging and assisting unemployed CSSA recipients towards paid employment and self-reliance. Strength of the scheme: The Active Employment Assistance program could encourage and help the unemployed recipients to work through the provision of personalized service. In addition, the unemployed CSSA recipients need to do unpaid community work in the Community Work program. This could help them to build up self-esteem and work habit. So they could also be well prepared to rejoin the workforce in the future. The program also encourages the incentive to work for the recipients by disregarding part of their income. Weakness of the scheme: We cannot ensure the unemployed recipients will participant the SFS program actively. Otherwise, it will only waste the resources of the government. Own opinion: I suggest that Social Welfare Department should strictly enforce the policy to terminate CSSA payment if an unemployed CSSA recipient who, without acceptable reasons, does not actively seek work, or declines a job interview or job offer, or refuses to undertake community work. C. Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (PCSSA) ...read more.

Conclusion

The scheme may not suit the present needs. As the age of retirement seems to be younger during these years, the government should adjust the age of receiving old age allowance in order to suit the elderly needs nowadays. Besides the above three assistance schemes, there are other three minor assistance schemes, they are: F. Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme This scheme provides cash assistance to victims of crimes of violence and law enforcement acts on a non-mean tested basis. G. Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme It provides speedy cash assistance to traffic accident victims on non-means tests basis. Payments cover only personal injury and death but not damage to property. H. Emergency Relief It is a welfare provided for helping victims of natural and other disasters by means of material aid and by means of grants from the emergency relief fund. The above three schemes are too specific and only few of people will apply these schemes. As a result, they cannot help to increase the social security in Hong Kong. Overall Comments and conclusion Social security in Hong Kong is not good and comprehensive enough which needs to be improved. As the assistance fund is based on the income from tax, the assistance level is quite low due to the low-tax system in Hong Kong which only meets the basic needs. CSSA recipients of small families may face difficulty in maintaining the livings. On the contrary, the cash assistance got by CSSA recipients from large families is much higher than median lower-end wages in Hong Kong. It really needs to find a balance between the reasonable assistance provided to the needy. Lots of social security schemes in Hong Kong are non-contributory which may cause heavy financial burden on the government. More importantly, there is no protection for young unemployed workers. So social insurance is a good system to uproot the problem. The government is suggested to strengthen the publicity on the importance and the need of buying social insurance. But first of all, we should change the mind of citizens and let them realize the benefits of contributory scheme. ...read more.

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