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Thailand’s Social Security Office moots higher pension payout age, benefits, report says

SSO plans to allow recipients of old-age pensions to receive healthcare, disability and death benefits
By Goh Thean Eu   
August 12, 2020

Thailand's Social Security Office (SSO) is pushing to amend social security legislation to increase benefits and protection for senior citizens, according to local English language daily Bangkok Post, citing unidentified sources.

The SSO’s proposals include increasing the pension payout age from 55 to 60, and allowing members to continue receiving healthcare, disability and death benefits even after withdrawing their pensions, the daily says in a report on August 11.

The SSO is a government organisation that manages the Social Security Fund. Contributions are compulsory for private sector workers and the self-employed.

The report says public hearings will be held for the first draft of the SSO’s proposed amendments to the legislation, but doesn’t specify a date.

Spokespersons for the SSO did not immediately respond to questions from Asia Asset Management (AAM).

SSO members can currently withdraw their pensions when they reach 55 years of age, but lose healthcare and other benefits if they do so. Withdrawals have to be in lump sum payments.

Members who opt not to withdraw their pensions will continue to draw benefits.

The normal monthly contribution rate is 10% of salaries, split equally between employers and employees. The rate has been reduced to 2% each for employers and employees from September through November to help ease the financial burden caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The SSO’s proposed amendments are timely as the number of senior citizens in Thailand is expected to increase over the next decade, according to a fund manager at a Thai asset management firm.

"However, in order to make SSO more sustainable in the long term, they would also need to look at other measures, such as increasing the members' contributions," the Bangkok-based fund manager tells AAM, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The SSO had over 2 trillion baht (US$64.29 billion) of assets under management at the end of 2019.