Elderly told to repay state huge sums

Elderly told to repay state huge sums

More pensioners get shock bills in Korat

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: More cases have emerged of elderly people being told to return tens of thousands of baht to the state after it was determined they were not entitled to the allowances they had received for years.

At least three new cases have emerged in this northeastern province, including Samrit Phusawang, 83, of Moo 4 village and Kuang Somboonram, 83, of Moo 3 village in tambon Cho Ho of Muang district.

Both had received the elderly allowance for over 14 years from April 2006 to November 2020. They recently received a letter from Tambon Cho Ho Municipality, telling them to return the money -- amounting to 83,383 baht each, including interest.

The state determined they were ineligible for the allowance because they were found to have received a separate monthly pension due to the death of their husbands while performing official duties.

The two have been summonsed to appear before the Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Court for a prima facie examination on Feb 18.

Wannapa Sanpen, a daughter of Ms Samrit, said her family was stunned on receiving the letter from Tambon Cho Ho Municipality.

Ms Wannapa said her mother had never intended to claim the money in the first place, and only did so after a municipal official told her to apply for it and even helped her prepare the necessary documents. Her mother thought it was her lawful right to get the elderly allowance, she said.

After receiving the letter, she and her mother went to the municipality office, where they were told to pay back the money in instalments -- 18,000 baht each for the first three months and then about 1,000 baht each per month until the debt was paid in full.

Ms Wannapa said she and her mother wanted the monthly repayment to be reduced to 500-600 baht. She hoped the court would show mercy to her mother on Feb 18.

A third Korat resident told to return money is Prachuap Padawan, 73, of Moo 3 village in tambon Cho Ho. Ms Prachuap received the monthly allowance from April 2009 to November 2020 -- and has now been ordered to return a total of 77,737 baht, including interest.

Her husband, a border patrol police officer holding the rank of sub-lieutenant, died in a firefight with communist terrorists in Nakhon Phanom province in 1972, entitling her to a special pension. She is also due to appear before the Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Court on Feb 18. People in tambon Cho Ho said at least five other local residents have also been told to return their allowances.

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