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Increased allowances for elderly in need proposed

Nov 19. 2018
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By The Nation

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Some 3.5 million elderly Thais holding state welfare cards may see their old age allowance increased to a flat rate of Bt1,000 per month to help them better cope with rising living costs, Vice Minister for Finance Narumon Pinyosinwat said on Monday.

The new rate is an improvement on the current pay scheme of Bt600 a month for those aged 60-69, Bt700 for those 70-79, Bt800 to those 80-89 and Bt1,000 for those over 90.

The hike in the allowance is part of a proposal by the Fiscal Policy Office which has been submitted for Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong's consideration, she said.

Other measures in the proposal include a Bt400 house-rental assistance fee for each qualified Thai senior who has no home of his/her own; a Bt500-Bt1,000-per month allowance towards transport for eligible seniors who need to travel to receive medical treatment, which could be funded by the sum set aside under the welfare card for train and bus fares; and vocational training in caring for elderly bed-ridden individuals for “phase 2” welfare card holders to improve their skills and make them eligible for state hire to take care of the registered ailing seniors in the community in exchange for a minimum wage of Bt308-Bt330 per day.

The proposal also includes the provision of state welfare to “grateful children” who return home to take care of their elderly parents, she added.

Narumon said the proposal has not yet been approved and is still being considered by the minister in term of appropriateness, feasibility and whether there is enough budget to cover the additional payments.

The minister would consult with the Fiscal Policy Office again before passing this proposal to the Cabinet by the end of this year so the approved measures could be implemented to aid needy elderly persons from next year.

This proposal is in line with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s policy for the ministry to formulate additional measures to aid Thai seniors and to add another Bt50 billion to the Pracharat Welfare for Grassroots Economy Fund, bringing it to Bt100 billion in total, to support these measures, she said.

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