FORT ST. JOHN (December 9, 2020) – The first policy decision of John Horgan’s newly-appointed Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Nicholas Simons has been to cut the supplemental COVID-19 disability income assistance to people with disabilities by fifty per cent.
“By introducing this significant cut at the same time as the one-time COVID benefits payment to British Columbians, John Horgan and the NDP are trying to frame this new payment as an additional support for people with disabilities while slashing their other benefits. It’s disgraceful,” said MLA Dan Davies, BC Liberal Critic for Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The new COVID benefit shouldn’t negatively impact the supplemental supports offered to people with disabilities. John Horgan can try to spin this however he likes but this is a cut to vulnerable people who can least afford it and it’s coming in the middle of the second wave of a pandemic.”
Beginning in January 2021, the COVID-19 crisis supplement will be reduced from $300 per month to $150, slashing the supports in half for people with disabilities. Advocacy groups have protested that this action will keep many people with disabilities below the poverty line in British Columbia.
“With the NDP planning to delay the 2021 budget, it’s unlikely that people with disabilities will see any additional assistance or supports for nearly six months,” added Davies. “Since John Horgan put the government on pause to call his snap election, there has been little to no action on supports the NDP promised. It’s time for his government to step up to the plate and make good on what they pledged to deliver to British Columbians, especially those living with disabilities.”