Thailand to merge ID and disability cards for streamlined support

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Varawut Silpa-archa, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), announced plans to merge identification (ID) and disability cards as part of an effort to streamline support for disabled individuals. The disability allowance includes those who are incarcerated.

The minister’s declaration was in response to the story of Monthon Phetsang, a 48 year old disabled man who embarked on a 400-kilometre journey on his hand-powered tricycle from Sukhothai to Bangkok, in a bid to claim his disability benefits. Monthon, who has been registered as disabled since 2015, initiated this trip three weeks ago and is currently in the province of Ayutthaya.

Despite being eligible for a monthly allowance of 800 baht, Monthon reported that he had not received any payments since 2020. After losing his ID documents in a flood, he was advised by officials in Sukhothai to approach the Comptroller General’s Department (CGD) in Bangkok to verify his disability and reinstate his monthly allowance.

The CGD revealed that Monthon’s allowance had been suspended in October 2020 due to his removal from local house registration and subsequent placement in the central registration, categorising him as incapable of executing legal transactions. Reports suggest that Monthon, who has been imprisoned on multiple occasions and whose whereabouts have been unknown for the past two years, faced difficulties in maintaining consistent contact.

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On Monday, the CGD stated that various agencies had offered to assist Monthon in obtaining a new ID card and disability documents in Ayutthaya. They also assured that his disability allowance would be reinstated from next month. However, Monthon declined this support.

Minister Varawut expressed uncertainty about Monthon’s resistance to assistance and his plans.

“As of now, we need to issue a new house registration in Sri Satchanalai district in Sukhothai as he wished.”

The minister underscored that Monthon was not excluded from the benefits due to his drug-related convictions and confirmed that disabled inmates are still covered under the allowance. He proposed that disability status should be included on the ID card, facilitating more efficient support for disabled individuals, reported Bangkok Post.

Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul supported this idea, recommending the MSDHS collaborate with the Department of Provincial Administration to merge the two forms of identification.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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