Poverty rising during pandemic, 15 million expected to be on welfare by 2022

Thai welfare card | Photo via Government Public Relations Department

Thailand’s poverty rate has been increasing during the pandemic. According to the deputy Finance Minister, the number of Thais receiving state welfare is expected to increase by over 1 million, totaling around 15 million people. Based on Worldometer statistics, this means that next year over 21% of the population will be on welfare, or around 1 in 5 people in the country.

At this time there are 13.65 million state welfare recipients in Thailand. Minister Santi Promphat said that the ministry will be revising the requirements for who are eligible. The current criteria for qualifying are that the recipient has to be an adult citizen of Thailand that has an income of 100,000 baht per year (around $3,000 USD), or less. It also takes into account land ownership. The new criteria may start to consider the ownership of other assets, such as cars, to assess an individual’s qualification for state welfare.

The criteria changes, in addition to the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, has the ministry estimating a further 1-2 million citizens qualifying for welfare in the next year. Applications for these programmes will begin in early 2022.

Some specific situations still are being discussed. For example, if one spouse has a high salary and the other a low salary, the question is if the spouse with a low salary still qualify for welfare. Any changes to the current qualification criteria will need to be approved by the cabinet before being instituted.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Worldometers

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Luke Albers

Luke Albers is a writer from the United States. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelors degree in political science and a certificate in peace, conflict and security studies. He has lived and worked in Africa and India, and now calls Thailand home. Luke loves to use his writing to connect with new people and places.

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