Each welfare system has its own welfare relations for shaping and maintaining certain types of welfare practices and welfare ideologies. Welfare relations concern the distribution of welfare responsibilities among various social institutions, the public’s welfare expectations and entitlements, and the status of welfare recipients. Welfare policies, which are a legal basis of the dominant class’s philosophy as well as a mechanism for policing welfare recipients’ use of benefits, play an important role in shaping and constructing the welfare relations of a country. This paper discusses how welfare policies construct the required welfare relations with regard to Hong Kong’s social security system. It is argued that the persistence of Hong Kong's residual welfare model is partly based on the residual welfare relations which facilitate family‐centred and market‐oriented welfare practices.