COVID-19: $300/month BC Crisis Supplement
Emergency Support For Persons With Disability (PWD) Assistance
The Province of British Columbia is helping people with disabilities by giving them extra money during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a stressful time for everyone, but for those struggling to put food on the table at the best of times, it is important that we ensure there are no additional barriers to get what they need to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
$300 extra per month on PWD during COVID-19 Crisis
What This Means: You will get an extra $300/month on your PWD Cheque
British Columbia will provide an automatic $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement for the next three months for everyone on income assistance or disability assistance who is not eligible for the emergency federal support programs (including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit). This extra $300 will be added directly to your provincial support cheque starting with the April 22, 2020 payment. (It is automatic so you don’t need to apply!) The supplement will be provided for April, May, and June.
PWD Exemption for Employment Insurance
What This Means: If you lose your job and get Employment Insurance (EI), you will still get the same PWD payments
For people in B.C. currently receiving income assistance or disability assistance, the Province will temporarily exempt federal employment insurance benefits, including the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). These payments will be fully exempted for the next three months, so people receiving income assistance and disability assistance in B.C. will benefit from these new emergency federal support programs, without any reductions to their monthly assistance payments.
$52 Transportation Supplement
What This Means: The money from your Bus Pass — $52/month — will be added to your monthly PWD Cheque
With the current province-wide suspension of BC Transit and Translink bus fares, the Province will also provide the $52 Transportation Supplement to all BC Bus Pass Program users receiving income assistance and disability assistance for the duration of the fare suspension. This will be included in the April cheque and for each subsequent month while the fare suspension remains in place.
“We are putting in place measures that complement the federal crisis measures to support our most vulnerable populations and ensure they do not fall deeper into poverty as a result of COVID-19,” said Minister Simpson.
Thank you, Minister Simpson!!
Teleconference with Ross Chilton, Dr. Danielle Smith, and Minister Shane Simpson
Community Living BC had its second public teleconference call today. The call was moderated by CLBC chair Michel Prince. He asked CLBC CEO Ross Chilton, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Danièle Behn Smith, and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson, to answer questions that were submitted by self-advocates and families.
CLBC with publish a transcript in the next few days, but here are some highlights from the call.
- What happens if a supported person gets sick? Will they continue to get needed support?
Answer: Yes. Ross Chilton said that each person’s situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and that CLBC will continue to provide supports as needed. For example, CLBC is already supporting people who are positive for COVID-19 — some people can safely self-isolate in their homes with reduced support, while others require ongoing support, which CLBC is continuing to provide.
- If agencies are no longer offering day-programs, will these funds be transferred respite?
Answer: No. Ross Chilton said that 80% of the costs for support go to agency staff costs. Most of these staff members are continuing to work and providing one-on-one support as part fo the COVID-19 response. Ross said CLBC understands and appreciates the extra efforts that family members and home-share providers are making during this time, and are prioritizing services for those more in need.
- If I lose my job, will I still have access to CLBC employment supports funding?
Answer: Yes, but it will change. Ross Chilton said that if a person loses their job, CLBC will work with them to provide the support they need when they need it. Initially, it may be emotional support, and in the future, it may be support helping the person find a new job!
For the latest information from CLBC, visit CLBC Information on COVID-19.