Disabled cyclist on 400km trip to restore lost welfare benefit
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Disabled cyclist on 400km trip to restore lost welfare benefit

Monthon Phetsang, a 48-year-old native of Sukhothai, in Ang Thong province on Sunday night, on his way to Bangkok. (Screenshot from TV Channel 3)
Monthon Phetsang, a 48-year-old native of Sukhothai, in Ang Thong province on Sunday night, on his way to Bangkok. (Screenshot from TV Channel 3)

A 48-year-old disabled man pedaling a tricycle with his hands has been on a 400-kilometre journey to Bangkok to restore his lost disability allowance.

Monthon Phetsang, who is from tambon Mae Sam in Sri Satchanalai district in Sukhothai province, told police in Ang Thong that he began his journey on his hand-powered tricycle about three weeks ago.

He was heading for the Comptrollers Department in the national capital, intent on proving he really is a disabled man and entitled to the 800-baht-a-month welfare benefit.

Mr Monthon said he only recently found out his disability allowance had not been paid into his bank account since 2020. He also had no ID card or other documents to identify himself. They had been lost in a flood.

Officials in Sukhothai advised him to visit the Comptroller-General's Department in Bangkok, where he could confirm that he is a disabled man and have his monthly allowance restored.  

Ang Thong police found him on Highway 32 on Sunday night and took him to nearby Chai Yo police station for his own safety. Not to be deterred, he sneaked out of the station overnight and resumed his journey.

He was spotted again in Bang Pahan district of Ayutthaya on Monday morning, and this time taken to the provincial finance office.

Mr Monthon has been unable to walk since he fell from the sixth floor of a building in 2014. He earns his living making products from coconut shells. 

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said on Monday that recors showed Mr Monthon had left Sukhothai over two years ago, and he had been removed from the list of people with disabilities living in Sukhothai.

The minister said people with disabilities could call the ministry's hotline 1300 to inquire about their monthly allowance. They did not have to travel to Bangkok.

The Department of Empowerment of People with Disabilities would arrange assistance for Mr Monthon, Mr Varawut said.

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