29th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency (WFSFAA) announced today that the Working Family Allowance (WFA) Scheme will see an increase in payment rates. The move aims to reinforce the policy objectives of the scheme, promoting continuous employment and rewarding hard work.
According to Mr. Andrew Tsang, the head of WFSFAA, the 2023 Policy Address revealed that starting from April 2024, household and child allowances under the WFA Scheme would be raised by 15% across the board. Mr. Tsang stated, “This measure will provide further relief to low-income working families and support them in raising children. It will also encourage self-reliance through full-time employment and incentivize more families to enter the labour market.”
Illustrating the impact of the rate increase, let’s consider a four-person household with two eligible children. From April 2024 onwards, the maximum monthly WFA will rise from the current amount of $4,200 to $4,830. Taking into account the six-month claim period for each application, the maximum allowance per application will increase from $25,200 to $28,980. The revised allowance amounts can be found in the Annex. During the 2022-23 period, over 66,000 households, encompassing approximately 220,000 individuals (including more than 86,000 children), were successfully granted the WFA.
To simplify the application process for families in need, WFSFAA has reduced the required documentary proofs. Applicants who face challenges in providing proof of household income or working hours, such as casual workers or self-employed individuals, may submit a self-declaration statement instead. WFSFAA has also made efforts to enhance its e-submission and online services, with e-submissions accounting for 50% of all applications, a significant increase from the previous 8% over the past two years.
To promote awareness of the WFA Scheme throughout the community, WFSFAA will collaborate with non-governmental organizations, Integrated Family Service Centres of the Social Welfare Department, owners’ corporations of buildings, schools, social enterprises, unions, and companies from various sectors (such as cleaning, guarding, property management, transport, sales, and catering industries). Additionally, they will intensify publicity efforts in public transportation, public housing estates, and community halls under District Offices.
The WFSFAA’s mascot, S. Buddy, will feature in newly launched leaflets and posters to provide an engaging and lively explanation of the scheme. S. Buddy also serves as an online chatbot, available around the clock, to address public inquiries and provide updates on application progress. Members of the public can also reach out to the WFSFAA via the 24-hour hotline (2558 3000) or email ([email protected]), or schedule a visit through the Online Counter Appointment System located on the 9th floor of 181 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong.