22m citizens apply for welfare

22m citizens apply for welfare

State welfare cardholders make purchases under the We Win scheme in Samut Prakan province last year. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
State welfare cardholders make purchases under the We Win scheme in Samut Prakan province last year. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

More than 22 million Thais have registered for state welfare cards, with many of them thought to be suffering from economic hardships caused by the pandemic, says Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat.

The latest round of registration, which ended in October, saw around one-third of the country's adult population apply.

However, Mr Santi said this was not an alarming number. He expects a large number of people who registered are from vulnerable groups or are bedridden, along with people affected by the economic jolt of the pandemic.

Mr Santi said not everyone who registered would receive a card, as they are only issued to those considered to be qualified by more than 40 state agencies.

There are 13.5 million cardholders at present.

Existing cardholders are required to re-register for all new rounds.

He said nobody wants to have a low income.

Mr Santi said he believes the number of cardholders will decline when the economy improves.

The state welfare card scheme is conducting stricter scrutiny of registrants' qualifications every year, he said.

Eligible cardholders must be citizens, aged 18 or older, with income of less than 100,000 baht per person per year. The average household income for registrants must not exceed 100,000 baht per year per person.

In terms of benefits, registrants with an annual income of less than 30,000 baht are given 300 baht per month, while those with an annual income of 30,000 baht up to 100,000 baht receive 200 baht per month.

The scheme also pays public transport costs for cardholders, up to 500 baht per month.

Mr Santi said the government would reconsider whether to increase the benefits for cardholders.

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