By The Nation
THE GOVERNMENT is planning to increase the age when people would qualify for old-age benefits from 55 to 60 years amid the country’s growing elderly population.
Social Security Office (SSO) secretary-general Suradej Waleeittikul yesterday admitted that his office was assigned to overhaul the scheme, which will include postponing by five years the eligible age when people can claim old-age benefits.
As of May this year, the scheme covered 14,148,310 people in Thailand.
“We will offer some incentives to encourage insured persons to start receiving the benefits at a later age,” he said.
Suradej said a subcommittee, established by the SSO to overhaul the scheme, has also considered raising the salary ceiling for calculating monthly contributions to the scheme from Bt15,000 to Bt20,000.
The higher the ceiling, the more contributions employees and employers submit each month to save for their retirement.
“This ceiling increase has received support from various sides. It’s a way to boost insured persons’ income during their retirement,” Suradej said.
Panel to consider plan
He said the subcommittee would meet on July 11 to consider the plan. “After it decides on the plan, it will hold public hearings on the matter across the country between July and August. Recommendations made during the event will be taken into account when we improve the scheme,” he said.
The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) meanwhile plans to hold a discussion on the idea of postponing old-age benefits on July 23.
“We will invite all stakeholders as well as academics to the discussion,” TLSC president Sawit Kaewwan said yesterday. “We will need to ensure that the voices of all stakeholders are heard.”
“We will consider this proposal and other options before making recommendations to the labour minister,” Sawit added.
He said relevant authorities must tread carefully on the issue because it would be related to efforts to reform the country’s social security scheme. “The scheme needs an urgent reform,” he said.
As of May 31 this year, the Social Security Fund – which finances the social security scheme – has accumulated investment funds of Bt1.6 trillion. Of the amount, about Bt1.13 trillion comes from the monthly contributions submitted by insured persons, employers and the government. The rest is the benefits generated from the amount.