SEPTEMBER is DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT MONTH
OCTOBER is COMMUNITY INCLUSION MONTH
This summer we welcomed our new NDP provincial government into office, and already we are seeing some positive changes. Almost immediately we saw a $100 increase to the monthly disability assistance rate. And things have continued to improve in the months since.
Our new Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Hon. Shane Simpson, visited GT Hiring Solutions at their downtown Work BC office last month to celebrate Disability Employment Month. Minister Simpson recognized two Work BC clients who had recently become employed with certificates acknowledging their good work.
During this visit, the Minister also spoke about his hopes for the future of the Employment Program of British Columbia. He stated that he would be in negotiations with our federal government about funding improvements for the future of the program, including more flexible funding options for People with Disabilities.
In the meantime, other exciting and positive changes for Persons with Disabilities include:
Effective October 1, 2017, the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE) limit has increased by $2,400 for people receiving Persons With Disabilities (PWD) benefits. A single person receiving PWD can now earn up to $12,000 a year without any reduction to their monthly benefits. The low AEE has been a huge barrier for individuals trying to work their way out of poverty. For many individuals on PWD, this barrier acts as a disincentive to seeking paid employment opportunities.
Effective January 1, 2018, all PWD recipients will receive a $52 increase to their monthly benefits in the form of a transportation supplement. This is intended to offset the changes to the monthly bus pass system that was introduced by the previous government. Individuals on PWD can choose to receive either the bus pass or the cash transportation supplement.
We are pleased with these changes so far and look forward to more to come as Hon. Simpson works on an official Poverty Reduction Plan for the province. Currently, BC is the only province without a Poverty Reduction Plan.