The Social Security Office (SSO) is considering expanding the low-interest loans to enrolled employees coping with the Covid-19 pandemic’s financial instability. Pitsamai Nithipaiboon, deputy secretary-general of the agency, said that a loan scheme is being prepared after calls by Social Security Fund (SSF) subscribers wanting to draw money from retirement funds to alleviate economic difficulty.
Ms Pitsamai said social security laws do not allow SSF members to withdraw money from the funds, so it will take time to implement amending regulations.
Alternatively, we expect the SSO low-interest loan scheme to help. As for SSF subscribers calling, she said the concept can be discussed, but retirement funds are intended to ensure future financial stability.
Under the rules, subscribers who contribute 180 months to their pension plan will receive a regular bonus upon retirement, and those who contribute less than 180 months will receive a one-time payment. Ms Pitsamai cautioned that if retirement money is allowed, many subscribers would dip into their savings, causing them to dwindle, which will affect pension payments when due.
The SSF has reserves worth around 2 trillion baht, of which 78 per cent are in shares and the rest are investing in high-risk investments. Furthermore, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has launched an interest-free loan scheme for people with disabilities and their caregivers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, without any guarantor or assurance.
Thanaporn Promsuwan, department manager, said qualifying applicants will receive a maximum of 10,000 baht under a five-year repayment plan, and must apply until the end of September to do so.