The Finance Ministry is considering the provision of additional welfare and subsidies for low-income senior citizens under the government's poverty scheme, to be paid through the national e-payment service.
Those eligible to register for the extra subsidies should earn less than 50,000 baht a year and are at least 60 years old, a source at the Finance Ministry said.
The government has already asked those with an annual income lower than 100,000 baht over the age of 18 to register for the national e-payment service to receive welfare and free public bus and train rides. Senior citizens who qualify for the living allowance have also been asked to sign up for the service. The deadline for registration was Aug 15.
Around 8 million people have signed up to receive government welfare and subsidies to alleviate poverty. Registering allows the government to direct subsidies and welfare to those who are at the bottom end of the economic ladder, instead of offering the current blanket welfare.
The Finance Ministry recently estimated that about 20 million people earn less than 100,000 baht a year, and qualify for the government's poverty welfare scheme.
All senior citizens aged 60 and over are now entitled to scaled living allowance, with a monthly allowance of 600 baht paid to those aged 60-69, 700 baht to those aged 70-79, 800 baht to those aged 80-89, and 1,000 baht to citizens aged 90 and older.
To fund the living allowance for elderly people, the government has allocated a budget of 60 billion baht per year and the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) has estimated that the burden will be increased to 90 billion a year by 2024, as Thailand is expected to have an ageing population by then.
The government will start paying a 400 baht subsidy for 85,000 newborn babies on Sept 9 through the e-payment scheme. Other subsidies, including a living allowance for elderly and handicapped people, will be first distributed electronically in October to those who live in Bangkok and Chon Buri's Pattaya before extending to the remaining provinces in December.