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Old Age Living Allowance

Social welfare for the elderly

The HKSAR Government introduced the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) Scheme in 2013. On 1 June 2018, the old OALA was renamed as the “Normal OALA” and a higher tier of assistance named the “Higher OALA” was launched. The monthly payments of the Normal OALA and the Higher OALA are $2,845 and $3,815   respectively.


The eligibility criteria for the Normal/Higher OALA are:

  • The applicant must be 65 or older;
  • The applicant must have been a Hong Kong resident for at least seven years and 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);
  • The applicant must not be receiving Old Age Allowance (OAA) or Disability Allowance (DA) under the Social Security Allowance Scheme or assistance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme;
  • The applicant must continue to reside in Hong Kong during receipt of OALA; and
  • The applicant’s income and assets must not exceed the prescribed limits set out below:

Normal OALA

Single person

Married couple

Total income per month



Total assets value



Higher OALA

Single person

Married couple

Total income per month



Total assets value



“Income” includes:

  • wages from employment;
  • income from handiwork, business, etc. (including salaries, wages, monthly commissions or bonuses, and monthly income from self-employment);
  • retirement benefits/pensions
  • net income from rentals collected; and
  • payout from the annuity scheme(s) .

Contributions from family members, relatives or friends, and monthly payments received under the reverse-mortgage scheme are excluded, but any unspent and accumulated savings/cash in hand is treated as part of the applicant’s “assets”.

“Assets” include:

  • land and other non-owner occupied properties;
  • cash in hand;
  • bank savings;
  • investments in shares and stocks (including bonds, trust funds and accrued retirement benefits);
  • vehicles for investment (e.g. taxi or public light bus) and their business licences, and
  • gold bars, gold coins, etc.

Owner-occupied property, a columbarium niche for self-use in future, and the cash value of insurance schemes are excluded. However, only the value of one residential property which is the applicant’s principal place of residence in Hong Kong is disregarded. Other properties separately or jointly owned by the applicant and/or his spouse are regarded as “non-owner occupied properties” and are taken into account in the assessment of “assets”.

Assets in Hong Kong, Macau, the Mainland and overseas are included.

How to apply

Currently receiving the old OALA and not meeting the monthly income and asset limits of the Higher OALA

  • They do not need to apply for the Normal OALA.
  • They will be automatically converted to receive the Normal OALA.

Currently receiving the old OALA and meeting the monthly income and asset limits of the Higher OALA applicable on May 1, 2017 (monthly income at $7,750 and asset at $144,000 for single persons; and monthly income at $12,620 and asset at $218,000 for married couples)

  • The Social Welfare Department (SWD) will issue a green notification letter to inform them of the auto-conversion arrangement.
  • They will be automatically converted to receive the Higher OALA without having to reply or to make a fresh application.


Currently receiving the Normal OALA not included in the Auto-conversion arrangements, Normal/Higher DA or OAA

  • The SWD will issue a yellow notification letter to them, enclosing the Postal Submission Application Form, informing them of the arrangement to apply for the Higher OALA by post.
  • Those who are eligible for the Higher OALA should complete the form and submit their application by post.


Currently NOT receiving the Normal OALA, OAA or DA

  • If they meet the Normal/Higher OALA eligibility criteria, they can download the application form and guidance notes from SWD website. The form and guidance notes are also available from social security field units.
  • The application form can be sent by fax, e-mail or post, through referral by government departments/non-governmental organizations, etc., or it can be submitted to a SWD social security field unit near the applicant’s place of residence.


For enquiries, please contact one of the following:
Old Age Living Allowance Enquiry Line: 3595-0130
Departmental hotline: 2343-2255