89-year-old woman promises to return living stipend

89-year-old woman promises to return living stipend

More time needed to collect money

Buan Losuwan, 89, offers a wai as she and her family need more time to give her living allowances back to the state. (Photo by Surachai Piragsa)
Buan Losuwan, 89, offers a wai as she and her family need more time to give her living allowances back to the state. (Photo by Surachai Piragsa)

BURI RAM: An 89-year-old woman has promised to return the elderly allowance she had received after she was found to have no right for it.

Buan Losuwan agreed to return 84,400 baht she had received from the Tambon Charoen Suk Administration Organisation over 10 years, but asked for more time to repay it, her daughter Latdawan said on Monday .

The tambon administration organisation gives her a year starting now to return the money free of interest. She has to pay a 7.5% interest rate afterwards if the payment is delayed.

Ms Latdawan appealed for more flexibility from the local government as the family needs 20 months to find the money.

"That is what we're asking for — 20 months," she said. "We will try to find the money to give it back."

"My mother cannot sleep," her daughter added. "The family never thought that at this age, she has a debt to repay."

Ms Latdawan said the family blamed no one for this matter.

In October 2001, Mrs Buan's son, Sgt Maj Chakkrawut, was killed in an ordnance explosion in Nakhon Ratchasima. As his next of kin, she inherited his special pension because he died on duty. The army has since paid her around 10,000 baht a month. 

Eight years later, the government, through local authorities, started giving an elderly allowance to all people aged 60 or more, using the money from excise tax collections. The rates now are 600 baht a month for those aged 60-69; 700 baht for the 70-79 bracket; 800 baht for those aged 80-89; and 1,000 for those aged 90 or more.

A condition is that they must register for the benefit and do not receive pensions or other financial benefits from the government or its agencies at the same time.

Mrs Buan had received the allowance since then.

Recently, Mrs Buan received a notice from the Comptroller General's Department through the tambon administration organisation asking her to return the elderly allowances she got from the local authorities.

Mrs Buan was reportedly shocked to suddenly find herself in debt. She said she had no idea she was not qualified when she applied for the allowance. 

Local officials advised her to use her son's pension to repay the sum over 12 months. The family was reluctant to take the advice because Mrs Buan would be left with a little over 3,000 baht to spend during the period. 

Her case was flagged only after the e-social welfare system was used, according to the department.

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