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Thailand’s rich not eligible for 3,500 baht government handout

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Thailand’s Finance Ministry has confirmed that wealthy citizens are not eligible for the government’s monthly cash handout of 3,500 baht. The Rao Chana (“We Win”) scheme consists of 2 monthly payments of 3,500 baht for those struggling with the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those with savings above a certain, unspecified threshold, will not qualify.

The ministry has not specified what this figure might be, in a bid to stop people transferring funds out of their accounts in order to fall below the required threshold. The Rao Chana scheme is aimed at farmers and the self-employed and is similar to the previous Rao Mai Thing Kan (“We Won’t Leave Anyone Behind”) scheme. That scheme consisted of 3 monthly payments of 5,000 baht and also excluded those with savings above a certain amount.

“The government spent 390 billion baht (on Rao Mai Thing Kan), but people still protested in front of the ministry after their applications to receive 5,000 baht remedial payments were rejected. A government official found that 1 protester had more than 10 million baht in his account, which is why he was not eligible.”

Kulaya Tantitemit from the Fiscal Policy Office, says screening under the new scheme will also reject government officials, employees in state enterprises, and people already in the social security net. The eligibility criteria are expected to be submitted for Cabinet approval soon, with registration for the scheme opening at the end of January and first payments made in early February.

“We want to help low-income people affected by Covid-19, so those outside the social security system such as freelancers or farmers will be eligible. But anyone with a high income will be disqualified.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    J West

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Greed among high income parasites who would take public money meant for the poor is not limited to Thailand. In Canada a benefit program designed to assist Covid stricken persons was the subject of an orgy of greedy pigs who didn’t need it. Greed knows no borders. But, wouldn’t it be nice if the greedy everywhere were fined, penalized and publicly shamed for thier immoral actions.

    • Avatar

      Icecream licker

      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 4:26 pm

      If only there was some kind of decentralized censorship resistant, scarce, secure alternative system we could use to just bypass them.

    • Avatar


      Friday, January 15, 2021 at 12:42 am

      Feelings of insufficiency are better understand and adapted to than judged from a distance with no practical solution. It is a fact that many apparently rich people are financially insecure, and arguments about metrics for means-tested handouts will never end peacefully so long as the level of social insecurity remains high. A system that distributes a discrete amount rather than targeting a sliding scale or applying means-testing would work far better. Can build in an opt-out for those who really know they don’t need it, and opting out could convert into bond ownership. This would be an effective way for the government to facilitate the country bailing itself out.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, January 15, 2021 at 7:09 pm

        Hi, John Brown 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    The general view on Thai media is that those who were eligible for and received the last payments (Rao Mai Thing Khan) will also be eligible for and receive this one (Rao Chana), which seems pretty simple and sensible.

    There was some ill feeling last time, not only with the authorities who moved the goalposts a number of times for who was eligible (first with limited occupations such as tour guides, lottery sellers, etc, even with checks and interviews at sub-district level initially, then with what were perceived to be “threats” for those who applied for but didn’t need the allowance) but with some who boasted about applying for but not needing the allowance, just using it as loose change that they kept on top of the fridge – even posting photos of the money on the fridge on Facebook!

    Pretty much everybody in the local villages got it last time, with some needing it a lot more than others (a fair few here genuinely are lottery sellers and tour guides), but it would cost a lot more to police and check it properly than would be saved so I’d say it’s actually a good, fair and practical way of doing it.

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    I agree that it would cost a lot more to police and check it properly. So I’m wondering why they don’t just give it to everyone. If you look at almost any graph of income or net worth, the “wealthy” always represent just a few percent of the population. (Depending on how you define “wealthy”.) So a program that just gives the same amount to everyone will be guaranteed to get money to everyone who needs it, with a couple percent wasted on those that don’t need it. Any program to try to pick and choose eligibility will inevitably eliminate some people who really should get it, make it harder to apply for others who should really get it, and will still end up costing more than the little bit of wastage a more uniform approach would incur.

    I’ve seen this before. In order to avoid the optics of giving money to those who don’t need it, they end up creating a program that is worse in every way. Anyone who wants more equity in society should be focused on a progressive tax policy, better public education, and making social safety net programs like this one more universal, not less.

    • Avatar

      Icecream licker

      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      ah the whole barrier to entry issue…. created by the people claiming to help.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      Agree with Larry here.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, January 15, 2021 at 12:56 am

      Agreed, Larry.

      I can’t recall exactly how many got it last time, but I think it was over 14 million.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    I have a simple set of conditions to establish who is poor and who is not.
    Some here may howl in protest at my selection, but even so I think these are a true measure of poverty.
    Those with a smart phone – not poor.
    those with a motor bike – not poor.
    Those with genuine Nike trainers – not poor.
    Those with a TV – not poor.
    Those with gold jewelry – not poor.
    those so fat they have to walk down stairs sideways – not poor.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      Who said anything about poor? These are payments to aid the economic stress caused by the pandemic. This stress affects more than just the poor.

    • Avatar


      Monday, January 18, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks for your requirement list.

      What’s considered a smartphone for you? What brand? What if I gave a poor person my old iphone 7?

      Motorbike – poor people drive motorbikes. Why not those with cars?

      What size and age of a TV qualifies one as not poor?

      Anyway classic Toby bullshit

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Well until they reach the level of economic stress as indicated by the list of requirements I have listed, I do not agree that they need aid.
    When I was a kid we were so poor, and the soles of my shoes so thin, I could stand on a penny and tell you whether it was heads or tails.

    • Avatar

      Tony Grace

      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Toby you must have been rich you had a penny.

      • Avatar


        Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 9:17 pm


      • Avatar


        Friday, January 15, 2021 at 8:50 am

        Or Shoes!

        • Avatar

          toby andrews

          Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 12:18 pm

          Yes, I were Lucky!


        • Avatar

          toby andrews

          Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 12:20 pm

          Well when I write about shoes, I mean I did not have a pair. I only had one!

  6. Avatar


    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    The amount of savings is not being specified so people can’t transfer out money. How about everyone needs 800,000 in their ACC for at least 3 months before like retired expats. See how they like it. Throw in a 90 day report while your at it. Stupid idea? I agree.

  7. Avatar


    Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 4:41 am

    Some tough people here. I appreciate Thailand is a “cheap” place to live but 3,500 bht wouldn’t go far. Look at what England and other countries are/have dished out. In my country we took our debt to GDP from 20% to 50% in 6 months due to handouts.
    I heard the last handout there only went to registered tax payers! Any truth to this? We have people here whining about poverty. I’d love to see them survive in Thailand. Every tourist spot is decemated.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 11:10 am

      By “there” do you mean in Thailand?

      If you do, there two different sets of “handouts”.

      1. Those for the “registered tax payers”, salaried, who are entitled to unemployment pay, and to allowances if their businesses are closed by the government due to Covid restrictions (hotels, restaurants, etc).

      2. Casual workers, not salaried and paying income tax such as lottery sellers and tour guides, who are entitled to allowances such as these (Rao Chana and Rao Mai Thing Khan).

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 3:17 am

        The problem in thailand is that those who are really poor do not fit into your two categories but are part of the black economy. E.g. certain street vendors, bargirls (not that they need a handout), people working ad-hoc in the fields and so on.

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