The deadline to file appeals for rejected applicants of the 5,000-baht monthly handout of aid money is this Friday, says the Finance Ministry, which anticipates the number of filers petering out.
Whether the appeal deadline will be extended depends on Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana's discretion, said Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, secretary to the finance minister.
The appeal process will take time because the Finance Ministry will forward appeals to the Social Development and Human Security Ministry to be taken care of, Mr Thanakorn said.
Thousands of denied applicants gathered at the Public Relations Department yesterday after the site was relocated from Gate 4 of the Finance Ministry to facilitate the public. The mass gathering coupled with hot weather raised concerns that social distancing might be overlooked.
Those living upcountry can appeal at the Interior Ministry's Damrongdhama Center in each province by May 8, Mr Thanakorn said.
The 5,000-baht cash handout scheme is part of relief measures directed at those affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the state's containment measures. The monthly stipend is given for three months, from April to June, to temporary workers, contract employees and self-employed workers who are not covered by the Social Security Fund's Section 33.
According to finance permanent secretary Prasong Poontaneat, Thailand's population stands at 66.5 million, of whom 39 million are working. Removing 2 million civil servants, 11 million covered by the Social Security Fund's Section 33 and 10 million farmers who are recipients of other assistance schemes, an estimated 16 million are eligible for the cash handout.
For 13 million vulnerable people, including infants, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless, the government has assigned a budget of 39 billion baht to help them.
The Social Development and Human Security Ministry is in charge of those vulnerable groups. Mr Thanakorn said the ministry could seek cabinet approval for additional budget, as some groups have yet to receive any assistance.
The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will be responsible for transferring money to the 10 million farming households that are entitled to the monthly 5,000-baht cash subsidy for three months.
Money will start being handed out to farmers on May 15, and the state-backed farm bank is able to transfer the money to 1 million recipients a day, Mr Thanakorn said.
Eligible farmers can receive the money through either the BAAC's or other banks' accounts, he said, adding that among 10 million farming households, 7-8 million have BAAC accounts.