Welfare card misuse being probed and regulations may be tightened

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FPO Director Suwich Rojanawanich.
FPO Director Suwich Rojanawanich.

Bangkok – Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) Director Suwich Rojanawanich has addressed the online posting of a photo of a welfare card holder wearing a designer watch and holding a high end smartphone by saying that authorities are looking into the facts behind the posting and giving an assurance that criminal charges will be lodged if the poster is guilty of defrauding the state, noting that the court has the authority to demand repayment of any money used under false pretenses by a card holder.  Welfare cards by regulation are only to be issued to low-income earners who made less than 100,000 baht in 2016.

The director pointed out that while the investigation is ongoing, the office may tighten its regulations for issuing cards. He explained that when registrations take place again in 2019, current card holders will have to re-register and be evaluated for eligibility once again.

The FPO has received 258,067 appeals for re-evaluation of eligibility for the welfare cards and has given approval to 9,300 individuals so far.