Make the $300 PWD Covid Supplement Permanent

Income security for individuals and families is key to maintaining strong, healthy communities. Yet most adults with intellectual disabilities are condemned to lifelong poverty and dependence on friends and relatives for basic living needs. Adults living on BC’s Persons with Disability (PWD) benefits are often forced to choose between safe housing, adequate nutrition and basic health care.

When millions lost their jobs during COVID-19, Canada immediately recognized the urgency to ensure income security through the national $2,000/month CERB benefit. BC’s Ministry for Social Development and Poverty Reduction was also quick to respond with a $300 monthly COVID-19 supplement and
exemptions to stop clawbacks of federal benefits. Working with community partners, the Ministry also moved quickly to strengthen and adapt the supplemental disability supports funded through Community Living BC.

This strong, coordinated response in the face of a national collective crisis was in many ways a model for finally confronting the individual crisis lifestyle that is the daily reality for so many in this especially vulnerable group and to set a course for true equity, social justice and inclusion.

The $300 monthly PWD supplement has made a huge difference in people’s lives. It needs to be permanent, with future benefit rates adjusted annually to match inflation in the 2021 BC Budget.

“We are always in the red. Costs are rising for everything, but our benefits and services stay the same or go down. There is rent to pay, damage deposits, winter boots to buy” (self advocates in Burnaby)