Gov’t to control cash handout beneficiaries number

Friday, April 24, 2009
Issue 681, Page 2
Word count: 601
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

People who have the right of abode in Macau but not yet applied for the identity cards on or before December 31, 2008 will not benefit from the cash handout scheme this year.

The Executive Council completed discussion on the bill to increase 3.37 billion patacas in the 2009 expenditures reserve fund for the implementation of the cash handout and health vouchers schemes.

The spokesman Tong Chi Kin said yesterday the bill will be put in an “emergency process” at the Legislative Assembly.

According to Identification Bureau (DSI) director Lai Ieng Kit at a press conference, beneficiaries of the 2009 cash handout scheme will be Macau permanent and non-permanent residents who hold a valid or renewable smart identity card on December 31, 2008.

That means local residents who were born in 2009 will not be included in the scheme.

For those who have the right of abode in Macau, Lai said they must have already lodged the identity card applications on or before December 31, 2008 in order to receive the one-time cash handout.

Residents who not yet reached five years old on December 31, 2008 and thus were not necessary to apply for identity cards at that time will still benefit from the scheme only if they go get their identity cards now.

This year the SAR government will allow “bedridden, general paralysed or hemiplegia [half-body paralysed] residents” who still hold the old-style identity cards and live outside of Macau to claim their cash handout.

Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah at the Legislative Assembly last week announced that permanent and non permanent residents of Macau will respectively get 6,000 and 3,600 patacas in May the soonest.

As of December 31, 2008, issued permanent and non permanent identity cards accounted for around 483,000 and 67,000 respectively, the DSI head said.

The Executive Council spokesman Tong Chi Kin said the cash handout for permanent residents will cost the government nearly 2.9 billion patacas, while non permanent residents for 241 million patacas.

In addition, the issue of 500 pataca worth health vouchers to each permanent resident will involve a government expenditure of 240 million patacas.

In terms of the cash handout distribution methods, Financial Services Bureau director Orieta Lau Ioc Ip said they will be the same as last year, which mainly include bank transfer and mail of crossed cheques payable to beneficiaries.

About 80,400 residents who are civil servants, or receive regular financial assistance and senior pensions from the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), teaching staff direct subsidies, tertiary education sponsorship, or civil servants retirement pensions will have the cash directly transferred to their bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the majority of the Macau residents accounting for 470,000 will be mailed crossed cheques.

Cheques for beneficiaries aged below 18 will be written with the beneficiaries, and also their parents’ names.

Minors who do not have their guardianship confirmed, inmates and people with physical or mental disabilities will have their collection of cash handout taken care of by the Social Welfare Bureau.

A support centre will be set up to take inquiries in relation to the cash handout scheme on the ground floor of China Plaza, 762-804 Avenida da Praia Grande, Macau.

The government officials said more details about the distribution timetable, website and the contact numbers will be announced at a later time.

The SAR government first launched the cash handout scheme in July 2008, in which the 461,000 permanent and 66,100 non permanent residents were each given respectively 5,000 and 3,000 patacas.

DSI director said about 440,000 or 96 percent of the cheques issued last year were honoured as of April 15, 2009.

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