By THE NATION
Currently, only a child’s first three years are covered by the monthly subsidy.
The proposal also widens the low-income bracket, meaning more people would be able to claim the subsidy. Currently, low-income earners are categorised as those who earn no more than Bt36,000 per year. Under the new plan, that ceiling would be raised to Bt100,000 per year.
“We will submit this new plan to the Cabinet soon,” Somkid Somsri said yesterday in his capacity as director-general of the ministry’s Children and Youth Department. He was speaking after the proposal was endorsed in a meeting with representatives of relevant authorities. Also present were Deputy PM Chatchai Sarikulya, Social Development and Human Security Minister Anantaporn Kanjanarat and top officials from the Finance, Public Health and Interior ministries.
“Our plan is designed to help children in cash-strapped families, give them protection and reduce inequalities in society,” Somkid said, adding that once these children were registered for subsidies, they would also have access to other state-provided services.
“We believe more than 1.44 million children, born from October 1, 2015 onwards, will benefit from this plan,” Somkid said, adding that if the proposal is approved, payments will begin retroactively from the start of the current fiscal year.
The military-backed government first began paying child-support in 2016 at the rate of Bt400 per child from birth until the age of 1. During the 2016 fiscal year, 90,216 children benefited from the subsidy.
From the 2017 fiscal year, the government increased the subsidy to Bt600 per child, and began covering the first three years after birth. More than 500,000 benefited from this scheme.