Low earnings exemption harms welfare recipients
Here I am, a university graduate with a technical trades diploma (both “honours”) and $50,000 in student loans [“ B.C. welfare rates need to go up right now”, web-only]. No problem. I’m waiting for 3:30 a.m. when the welfare direct deposit arrives. I’ll head to 7-Eleven to eat and get some fruit juice. I can’t sleep with a headache.
I receive persons-with-disabilities income assistance. I have a part-time job. Am I another sponge on the system? I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and chronic pain. Each are serious disabilities.
My $906 per month leaves me $15,000 under B.C.’s “poverty line”. The $500 per month in allowable earned income before deductions on the $906 kick in freezes me at $10,000 below the line, even while earning $1,000 per month.
Any dollar over $1,406 per month is deducted.
Think carefully. There is intrinsic difficulty in being self-sufficient or making the transition to employment if a person is significantly disabled and too hungry to hold full-time work. (Donated Kraft Dinner and Diet Pepsi from the food bank are not food.)
Do I risk going crazy or breaking my back to escape First World poverty? Should I cheat the system?
I think about your child, coworker, or good friend who is disabled. Increasing the allowable earned income before deductions would be a most magical miracle of sound governance.
> Brenden MacDonald / Delta