BC government announces that an extra $52/month will be added to monthly PWD (Persons with Disabilities) payments starting in December 2017 to pay for a bus pass or other transportation options.
Victoria, BC – October 2, 2017: Inclusion BC’s Faith Bodnar and other disability advocates joined BC Minister Shane Simpson today to announce a new transportation supplement for people who live on Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefits.
The new transportation supplement fulfills the BC government’s promise to restore the bus pass for PWD recipients effective January 2018 without any clawbacks.
The Ministry for Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced the new flexible transportation supplement, which can be used for a bus pass or other transportation options, at a press conference Monday morning.
Read more in the Ministry’s press release.
Read the Fact Sheet on the Transportation Supplement
Bodnar, Inclusion BC’s Executive Director, had urged government to restore the bus pass as soon as possible, noting that reliable and affordable access to transportation is critical to ensuring that people with disabilities can exercise their rights to community inclusion.
On Monday, Bodnar joined Minister Simpson for the announcement and applauded the move as a positive one.
“Almost 18 months ago. Inclusion BC and thousands of British Columbians called for the restoration of the bus pass,” Bodnar said. “We brought our call to this very legislature along with the support of 16,000 people who signed our petition.”
More on the campaign to raise PWD rates & restore the bus pass
“I am very pleased that the new government has made transportation a priority for people on PWD. Not only for those who use a bus pass but for everyone on PWD,” Bodnar said.
Other advocates, including Disability Alliance BC and the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) also joined the Minister for the announcement and applauded the move.
The provincial government has recently taken a number of steps to start addressing the poverty faced by people with disabilities (read more).
In September, PWD rates increased $100/month
In September, the BC government also increased the earnings exemption (the amount someone can earn from working before their PWD benefits are reduced) by $200 per month.
This raises the total annual earnings exemption for 2017 to $12,000 for a single person before any reduction in their monthly PWD benefits. BC now has the highest annualized earnings exemption for disability benefit recipients in Canada.
Inclusion BC is also participating in community consultations that Minister Simpson has launched to help shape a poverty reduction strategy for BC.
“The transportation supplement is a major improvement that acknowledges all British Columbians with disabilities on assistance should receive support to get around in their communities, wherever they live,” Bodnar said. “This, and the increase in earnings exemptions, is an important step forward in providing people on disability assistance with the capacity to work, improve their quality of life without penalty and contribute economically to the province.”
Inclusion BC looks forward to working with government and community partners to ensure income security for people with intellectual disabilities. This includes PWD rates that reflect the true cost of living and that are indexed to inflation.
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