11 July 2024

Local administration organizations have been instructed, by the Interior Ministry, to cease legal action against some 15,000 elderly people who have been receiving both pensions and living allowances and to try to negotiate solutions which will have a minimal impact on them.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said today that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is fully aware of the issues concerning these elderly people and has ordered authorities concerned to find a legal solution.

The problem arose when the Comptroller Department discovered that some 15,000 elderly people were receiving both their pensions and living allowances, dating back more than 10 years, which is regarded as an illegal receipt of duplicate state funding.

The Comptroller Department then asked local administration organizations to demand refunds from them, amounting to several tens of thousands baht in many cases. Many of them claimed that they had already spent the money and could not afford to repay the state.

Anupong admitted that he is fully aware of the trouble facing these people, pointing out that it was not their mistake that they received funds from two sources.

Some of these elderly people in Nakhon Ratchasima have sought help from the Lawyers’ Council in the province.

Pornthep Charoenpong-anan, chief lawyer at the council in the province, has promised free counselling to two of them, 73-year old Prachuab Padawan and 83-year old Samrith Phusawang, saying that he wanted to set a precedent for such cases.

Meanwhile, political activist Srisuwan Janya today lodged a petition, addressed to the ombudsman, recommending that the Interior Ministry amend regulations regarding the payment of living allowances to the elderly and asking the Comptroller Department to stop demanding refunds.

Srisuwan also suggested that the government should pardon all the aging people who have received the allowances on top of their pensions.