We want Premier Christy Clark and Minister Michelle Stilwell to raise the rates and leave our bus pass alone!
- Bring back the $45 per year bus pass for people with disabilities.
- Eliminate the new $52/month bus pass fee.
- Let everyone receiving PWD benefits keep the $77/month increase.
- Raise the PWD benefit rate to $1200 per month by October 1, 2016 to reflect the cost of living.
On February 16, 2016, the Province of BC tabled its budget.
People with disabilities received a small increase to their disability benefits but there was a catch. The $77 per month increase was tied to the cost of a person’s transportation. These are the changes, effective September 1st, 2016:
- People with disabilities will receive a $77 per month increase to their benefits.
- People receiving PWD benefits will no longer be able to purchase an annual bus pass for a $45 annual fee.
- The cost of the bus pass will go up from $0 to $52 per month, plus an annual $45 administration fee.
- For people with a bus pass, the new change means a $25/month PWD benefit rate increase. After a nine-year rate freeze, this is an insult.
Why we need a rate increase:
Having increased by only $120 since 2001, BC disability benefit rates of $906/month are among the lowest in the country; yet we live in one of the most expensive provinces. People with disabilities struggle with impossible pressures, including whether to get a bit of extra money to buy food or take the bus. We are falling behind and desperately need a rate increase that reflects the cost of living in BC.
As our provincial government tabled its budget, it touted BC as having the best financial outlook in the country. The government was finally in a position to announce an increase in benefits to catch up to the rapidly rising cost of living.
To finally give people an increase only to claw it back for something as essential as transportation is mean-spirited and out-of-touch.
Read the Inclusion BC report: Overdue: the case for increasing the persons with disabilities benefit in BC