The Finance Ministry is set to begin reassessing more than 13 million state welfare smartcard holders to ensure that they are indeed qualified to receive financial aid that’s originally intended for low-income earners.
According to Krisada Chinavicharana, finance permanent secretary, state welfare benefits are awarded to recipients who meet the low-income threshold. This threshold is set by the finance Ministry itself, which will look at the actual income of those who are currently recipients of state welfare benefits.
Mr. Krisada said that they should be able to find out who among the current recipients are actually earning more than the stipulated income threshold. They will then be able to find out who are the actual low-income earners that have been left out of the state welfare program.
He also explained that this should have been done already in the previous year, but the outbreak of the COVID-19 had compelled the Ministry to postpone the eligibility reassessment until this year.
Mr. Krisada explained that, based on the number of offline registrants for the Rao Chana or “We Win” financial relief package, it has been determined that a significant number of otherwise qualified recipients do not have access to the necessary technology like smartphones and the Internet.
The Ministry has determined that these offline registrants have been excluded from state welfare benefits although they are qualified. This is because the We Win scheme does not require existing state welfare smartcard holders to register to be recipients of the financial aid.
They are automatically enrolled, and the Finance Ministry directly wires their financial aid into their smartcard accounts.
The Rao Chana scheme considers as qualified Thais who age 18 years old and above, does not currently hold a job, have previously earned an annual income of at most THB100,000 and own assets valuing up to THB100,000.
They can own a house occupying up to 25 square wah, or a condo unit with a floor area of 35 square meters.
Once enrolled, the recipients are given THB200-300 a month that they can use to make purchase at Thong Fah shops, as well a THB500 monthly transportation subsidy, and THB45 discounts in cooking gas purchases.
Registration for the Rao Chana scheme was supposed to end on February 25. However, the significant number of people who came to register offline have caused considerable commotion among Thais who wish to beat the deadline for registration.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that they are extending the deadline to March 5 in consideration of the number of documents that need to be processed for offline registrations.
“Please come and register on other days because there is still plenty of time. We are going to extend the deadline to make sure all who are entitled can register,” the PM said on Monday, February 15.
People without Internet access who would like to register for the Rao Chana scheme can visit government processing facilities or Krungthai Bank branches in their area.
People with smartphones have already completed their registration on February 12.