You may be wondering why Disability Assistance rates are an issue, about the history surrounding disability assistance in BC, or why the government should bear any responsibility for the well-being of its disabled citizens. Though the following list of resources is not exhaustive or complete, I it is a helpful starting point.
The BC Government recently announced it will increase disability rates by $175, bringing the Disability Assistance Benefit to $1358. This rate does not meet either demand to keep the $300 Covid bump, or to raise the rates to meet the poverty line ($1667 to $2000 depending on how the Market Basket Measure is interpreted). For this reason I, along with other advocacy groups, call for the rates to be further raised.
First, some quick facts:
On this page people share their experiences living with a disability, and with the Disability Assistance Benefit, in BC. Some things to know:
- Disability rates depend on family size, parental and marital status. A single person is eligible for $1183.42 in 2020. $375 of that is designated as a shelter/housing allowance. A year’s income at this rate is $14,201. The poverty rate for BC is approximately $20,000 for a single person and $40,000 for a family of four.
- A single person can earn or receive $12,000 a year without it impacting their disability assistance.
- Many people do not qualify for the Disability Assistance Benefit on their first application.
- PWD: can mean “person with a disability” or “people with disabilities.” It is also used to refer to the disability benefit or “Persons with Disability” benefit.
Canada ratified the UN Convention on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities in 2010. In 2014, the BC government announced that it wanted to be the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities.
Access the UNCRPD document here. From Article 28, “Adequate Standard of Living and Social Protection”:
“States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability.”
Articles and Reports:
Arts and Culture:
Gabrielle Peter’s blog “Mssinenomine”: https://mssinenomineblog.wordpress.com/
Mia Mingus blog “Leaving Evidence”: https://leavingevidence.wordpress.com/
“Ten Principles of Disability Justice,” Sins Invalid: https://www.sinsinvalid.org/blog/10-principles-of-disability-justice
“Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice”, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
GoodReads Disability Justice Writing List: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/154407.Disability_Justice_Writing
Bill C-7 / Medical Assistance in Dying:
Changes to Bill C-7 expanded its scope to include people with disabilities and mental illness who do not have a “reasonably foreseeable death.” The bill was passed on March 17th in spite of advocacy of 147 organizations advocating to protect disability rights.
Un Special Rapporteur on Disability Rights Letter to the Federal Government expressing concern over ableism of bill, failure to meet UNCRPD obligations.
Dignity Denied a disability led organization that formed to oppose Bill C-7