Thousands line up for government benefits

 | Wed 6 May 2020 15:13 ICT

Thousands of people have descended upon the Chiang Mai Provincial Hall’s Social Security Office, which is now fully operational, to apply for benefits.
The line stretched out and around the large government building, with skirmishes and flashes of disturbance flairing up from time to time when authorities asked those in line to socially distance.

The majority of people are ex-employees of companies which shut down of their own accord, and not because they were forced to by the emergency decree. In these cases, they must come to apply for the promised relief themselves.

The Social Security Office (SSO) launched a COVID-relief plan starting March 1st which means that the SSO agreed to reduce financial contributions by both employees and employers into the Social Security Fund from five to four percent for six months. Under Section 33 and 39, there is possibility for an extension of the deadline for financial contributions by both employees and employers for the March, April and May 2020 for another three months.

Workers who are members of the fund are entitled to compensation of 45 percent of monthly pay in case of unemployment from resignation for a period not exceeding 90 days, and compensation of 70 percent of monthly pay in case of forced unemployment for a period not exceeding 200 days.

Chiang Mai has 300,000 employees currently seeking this payment.

Ladda Sae Li, from SSO Chiang Mai told CityNews that there has been a misunderstanding. She said that the forms to request the payment can be filled online, but the office opened this week to respond to the needs of those unable to do so – foreigners who couldn’t fill in Thai forms or people with other reasons why they can’t apply online. However, the office, which only aimed at servicing the needs of a few, became inundated when rumours began to spread that it was open, she said.

Ladda went on to say that the thousands of people who have come have caused chaos, with many refusing to social distance. She has therefore asked to borrow chairs from the municipality and will put better social distancing measures in place for tomorrow.  She went on to urge the public to please fill in the form online and simply wait for an SMS confirmation.