Province urged to increase disability benefit payments

Government seeks suggestions to improve accessibility for the disabled ahead of white paper, summit

Concerns about mobility access for people with disabilities includes access to transit and HandyDart custom transit service.

The provincial government is being urged to raise disability benefit rates that advocates say are far too low.

The call comes as community consultations get underway on issues facing people with disabilities to guide the drafting of a white paper on potential solutions that will be unveiled in June.

The disability benefit rate for a single person is currently $900 a month and the B.C. Coalition of People With Disabilities wants that raised to at least $1,200.

“That amount is for housing, food, clothing and all of life’s necessities and it is not enough to live with comfort and security in this province,” executive director Jane Dyson said.

She said the province deserves credit for increasing the amount that people on disability benefits can earn in wages without penalty to $800 about a year ago.

“That’s a positive step,” she said.

Dyson said a further improvement would be to calculate exempted earnings over the course of a year, rather than on a monthly basis.

She said that would allow people with episodic conditions who can work only a few months at a time to retain more of their wages.

Consultations are scheduled in the Lower Mainland from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13. Details can be found at engage.gov.bc.ca/disabilitywhitepaper, where comments are being collected until March 11.

Among the topics being considered are ways to improve accessibility to reduce barriers to mobility and employment.

Just 56 per cent of people of working age with disabilities are employed, compared to 74 per cent of people aged 15 to 64 who are not disabled.

“What would B.C. look like as the most progressive place in Canada for people and families living with disabilities?” asks the province’s terms of reference for the process, which was a BC Liberal election promise.

“What would make it easier for people with disabilities to work or contribute to the community? What needs to be in place?”

Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae has pledged to hold a summit on the white paper and its findings in early summer.

Dyson said she hopes the process leads to real solutions rather than a document that just ends up “sitting on a shelf collecting dust.”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley realtor builds holiday party for kids

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Giants defenceman Byram headed to NHL prospects game

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Langley Rams receiver inks with BC Lions

Jevon Cottoy joined the Rams this season and now has a multi-year contract with the Lions.

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

McGregor Says: Shopping husbands will survive

Columnist Jim McGregor offers a little advise to those husbands required to go Christmas shopping.

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Christmas fun at Aldergrove Library: VIDEO & PHOTOS

Youngsters enjoyed decorating a Christmas tree with their homemade craft decorations

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Kodiaks avenge themselves against Pilots: ACTION PHOTOS

Aldergrove and Abbotsford Junior B hockey teams tie game at 5-5

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Most Read