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Artificial intelligence intended to prevent abuse of state welfare

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Artificial intelligence will stop ineligible applicants from signing up for state welfare cards. (via Government Public Relations Department)

As a new round of registration is set to commence, the Ministry of Finance is planning to use artificial intelligence to ensure that the state welfare cards issued this year are given only to eligible low-income earners. The Ministry plans to implement new technology to cut down on fraud and to keep urgent financial assistance money from going to those who are not in need at the expense of those who are.

The new artificial intelligence system will connect the systems of multiple state agencies to do real-time verification of anyone who applies for state welfare. The Deputy Finance Minister says that linking and cross-referencing all these agencies will easily filter out applicants who do not qualify for benefits.

The state welfare is intended for only the lowest earners without significant savings to support them in lean times. An applicant cannot have more than 100,000 baht in savings and tiered benefits are based on earnings of less than 100,000 baht per year.

Those who earn between 30,000 baht and 100,000 baht annually – that’s a maximum of 8,333 baht per month – are eligible to receive a 200 baht monthly supplement from the government. The payment each month is raised to 300 baht for those who earn under 30,000 baht per year – 2,500 baht a month or less. 300 baht isn’t much for many people, but for those lowest earners, it’s at least 12% of their monthly income.

The artificial intelligence has been put in place to try to weed out people we are not struggling with extreme poverty and to stop them from taking advantage of the system designed to help the poorest in Thai society. The Deputy Finance Minister predicted between 14 and 15 million people would apply and be eligible for the benefit this year.

Last year saw 14.6 million approved applications into the programme, and it’s reasonable to expect that many who may have been just above the 100,000 baht threshold last year might have suffered further from the Covid-19 pandemic and fallen below the qualifying level this year.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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