Family income joins new welfare criteria

Family income joins new welfare criteria

A welfare card holder shows a bus ticket given by a conductor who scanned the card for bus fare. The welfare card is available to Thai nationals aged 18 and up with an annual income of less than 100,000 baht. (Photo by Worrapon Phayakum)
A welfare card holder shows a bus ticket given by a conductor who scanned the card for bus fare. The welfare card is available to Thai nationals aged 18 and up with an annual income of less than 100,000 baht. (Photo by Worrapon Phayakum)

Recipients of state welfare benefits in the new round of registration early next year must include the incomes of their family members, and the average annual income for the family cannot exceed 100,000 baht per person.

The family-based income qualification is part of the criteria for the new round of registration, meant to better determine those who are truly needy, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.

The individual income ceiling of 100,000 baht per year for state welfare scheme registrants remains in place.

For example, for a three-member family with a father earning an annual income of 200,000 baht, mother earning 50,000 baht a year and a child without income, the mother and the child (if aged 18 or older) will be eligible for state welfare benefits because each member averages 83,333 baht a year, below the 100,000-baht threshold.

If the father earns annual income of 1 million baht, all three members will be disqualified from state welfare because the average annual income of each member exceeds the 100,000-baht benchmark.

After the family income condition is applied, the number of welfare smartcard holders, currently at 14.6 million, is expected to decline, Mr Uttama said.

However, holding a credit card or owning a car will not be included in the registration criteria, he said.

The Palang Pracharath Party's election manifesto for mothers and children will be provided to state welfare smartcard holders to encourage people to have more children, the finance minister said.

The imminent welfare will be on top of the government's subsidy of 600 baht a month for newborns until age six for families with a combined income of up to 100,000 baht a year, Mr Uttama said.

Moreover, the government is poised to offer additional welfare and subsidies to state welfare smartcard holders and will consider e-payment data to design the new welfare scheme, he said.

The government allocated 40 billion baht to finance state welfare smartcard holders in fiscal 2020, and additional budget can be sought if needed, Mr Uttama said.

Finance permanent secretary Prasong Poontaneat has been instructed to set up a unit to handle registration of welfare smartcard holders because registration must be done on an annual basis.

According to the most recent criteria, those who are eligible for the welfare and subsidy scheme must be Thai nationals aged 18 or older, be unemployed, have annual income of less than 100,000 baht and have financial assets of less than 100,000 baht.

Eligible recipients can own a house measuring up to 25 square wah, or a condo unit spanning up to 35 square metres.

State welfare smartcard holders are now entitled to 200-300 baht a month to buy consumer products at Thong Fah shops; a 500-baht monthly fare subsidy for public buses, intra-provincial buses and electric trains; and a 45-baht discount for cooking gas purchases every three months.


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