Money Matter

Government injection of budget surplus to benefit scheme members

Article exclusively contributed by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority

Keith recently became unemployed. However, he heard that the government had announced a HK$6,000 cash injection into the accounts of eligible members of MPF schemes and MPF exempted ORSO registered schemes (ORSO schemes).

According to Keith's information, eligible members are people who earned a monthly income of HK$10,000 or below at a prescribed time, so Keith decided to find out more information.

He discovered the HK$6,000 cash injection initiative is a colossal project, which requires legislative amendments and involves other complicated administrative procedures. The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) needs to, among other things, collect information about scheme members from trustees, then verify, consolidate and match the information and compile a list of eligible members for the cash injection.

The MPFA hopes to announce the injection schedule and arrangements by the end of 2008. Members who consider themselves eligible, but who do not receive the money will be given ample time to enquire with the MPFA at a later stage.

Eligible members

Recently unemployed persons are eligible if they fulfil the following criteria: (a) They had a preserved MPF account on 29 February 2008; (b) They were employed at any time between 1 March 2007 and 29 February 2008; (c) They had pay records under an MPF scheme or were ORSO scheme members during the aforementioned period; and (d) The relevant income in any one of the last three months of their final job in the aforementioned period was HK$10,000 or below.

Regular employees (full time and part time) under an MPF scheme are also eligible. All full-time and part-time employees who are MPF scheme members are eligible, as long as they had an MPF contribution account on 29 February 2008 and earned a monthly relevant income of HK$10,000 or below in any one of the three months of December 2007, January 2008 or February 2008.

Casual employees under the Industry Schemes (covering the catering and construction industries) are also covered. Such members are eligible provided they had an MPF contribution account on 29 February 2008 and their average monthly income between 1 March 2007 and 29 February 2008 (the total relevant income of those 12 months divided by 12) was HK$10,000 or below.

Self-employed MPF members are eligible too if they remained self-employed and had an MPF contribution account on 29 February 2008 and the annual relevant income they reported to their trustees covering the period of 1 December 2007 to 29 February 2008 was HK$120,000 or less. In cases where two financial years are of relevance, only one of the reported annual relevant income amounts needs to be HK$120,000 or below.

ORSO members are eligible as long as they were members of an ORSO scheme (defined contribution and defined benefit) and their monthly salary in any one of the three months of December 2007, January 2008 and February 2008 was HK$10,000 or below.

Q & A on the government's injection of budget surplus
Q1 If I have more than one MPF account, which account will receive the HK$6,000?
A1 Each eligible person is entitled to one injection only, regardless of the number of MPF accounts they hold or whether they are an MPF and an ORSO scheme member at the same time. People with more than one job or are self-employed simultaneously will have the total income derived from all employment assessed to decide eligibility. The injection will be made to the account which had the highest account balance on 29 February 2008.

Q2 Where can scheme members obtain information about the injection?
A2 The MPFA has produced a flyer, which details the eligibility criteria for the injection and the necessary steps scheme members should take. The flyer is now available to the public free of charge at the offices of the MPFA, Home Affairs Department district offices, Labour Department offices of the labour relations division and job centres. It is also available on the MPFA's website.

Taken from Career Times 20 June 2008, p. B20

(Last review date: 23 August 2013)

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