More elderly people have been told to return tens of thousands of baht to the state after it determined they were not entitled to the allowances they received for years.
Thai media reported that at least three new cases have emerged in Nakhon Ratchasima, including Samrit Phusawang, 83, of Moo 4 village and Kuang Somboonram, 83, of Moo 3 village in tambon Cho Ho of Muang district.
Both had received the elderly allowance for over 14 years from April 2006 to November 2020. They recently received a letter from the Tambon Cho Ho Municipality, telling them to return the money — amounting to 83,383 baht each, including interest.
The state determined they were ineligible for the allowance because they were found to have received a separate monthly pension due to the death of their husbands while performing official duties.
The two have been summoned to appear before the Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Court for a prima facie examination on Feb 18.
Wannapa Sanpen, a daughter of Mrs Samrit, said her family was stunned on receiving the letter from the Tambon Cho Ho Municipality.
Ms Wannapa said her mother had never intended to claim the money in the first place, and only did so after a municipal official told her to apply for it and even helped her prepare the necessary documents.
Her mother thought it was her lawful right to get the elderly allowance, she said.
After receiving the letter, she and her mother went to the municipality office, where they were told to pay back the money in installments — 18,000 baht each for the first three months and then about 1,000 baht each per month until the debt was paid in full.
Ms Wannapa said she and her mother wanted the monthly repayment to be reduced to 500-600 baht. She hoped the court would have mercy on her mother on Feb 18.
A third resident of Korat asked to return the money is Prachuap Padawan, 73, of Moo 3 village in tambon Cho Ho. Mrs Prachuap received the monthly allowance from April 2009 to November 2020 — and has now been ordered to return a total of 77,737 baht including interest.
Her husband, a border patrol police officer holding the rank of sub-lieutenant, died in a firefight with Communist terrorists in Nakhon Phanom province in 1972, entitling her to a special pension.
She is also due to appear before the Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Court on Feb 18.
People in tambon Cho Ho said at least five other local residents have been similarly told to return their allowances.
Top: An elderly lady receives her blessing in Bangkok. Some of these people have very little yet give what they can. Photo: Greg Walters(CC BY 2.0)