The Department of Local Administration (DLA) on Friday addressed concerns about delays in making living allowance payments for elderly and disabled people, saying it managed to move funds from other schemes to make payments.
DLA director-general Prayoon Rattanasenee insisted the problem had been addressed and the payments, which were usually made on the 10th of every month, would be made by 22nd September or sooner.
The assurances followed an announcement by the Comptroller General’s Department on Thursday that it could not pay living allowances for the elderly and the disabled due to insufficient funds. The department is responsible for providing living allowances for 10 million elderly and disabled citizens.
“The DLA has transferred the funds earmarked for other schemes to pay the monthly allowances for the elderly. The payment should be made before 22nd September,” Mr Rattanasenee said. The DLA chief said that as a normal procedure the Budget Bureau will verify the disbursement first and the DLA will notify the Comptroller General’s Department for fund disbursement.
The delay in payment was caused by under-allocation of the budget due to the changing numbers of eligible receivers, not because the government is broke, he said. As the result, the fund for the September payment is short by two billion baht.
A source at the Comptroller General’s Department said local administrative organisations, which are under the DLA, have to give figures to seek funding and the Comptroller General’s Department’s job is to make payments to the recipients. He was explaining the regulations on condition he not be named in this report.
“The short part of the fund has now been allocated but it is being processed so the payment can be made after 20th September. But the money will have to be paid before the end of this month otherwise the money will be returned,” the source said.
The source added the allowance payment for next month, which marks the start of the new fiscal year, remains up in the air as the budget bill for the 2021 fiscal year is still being examined.
Under the old-age pension scheme, all elderly Thais are entitled to a progressive living allowance, with 600 baht paid monthly to those aged under 69, 700 baht to those aged 70-79, 800 baht to those aged 80-89 and 1,000 baht to those aged 90 and above.
Disabled people get a monthly allowance of 800 baht but the amount will increase to 1,000 baht starting in the 2021 fiscal year.
According to the Department of Older Persons, as of December last year, the elderly population is 11,136,059 and in the 2019 fiscal yea about 71.9 billion baht was spent for elderly allowances.