September 19, 2017 7:27 pm

B.C. to lift earning cap for people on social assistance

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The amount of money British Columbians on disability or income assistance can earn from other sources without losing benefits is about to go up.

The NDP has announced a $200 per month increase in earning exemptions for people on social assistance, amounting to a $2,400 annual lift to the cap.

Until now, the maximum someone on disability assistance could earn before having payments clawed back was $9,600 per year; it will now be $12,000.

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For people on welfare, the previous monthly cap was $200. It  will now double, meaning people on income assistance can earn $4,800 a year.

READ MORE: John Horgan announces $100 increase to income and disability assistance

The Ministry of Social Development says the change will apply to the current year for people on disability assistance, and that anyone who has already reached their maximum for 2017 will be reassessed under the new cap.

The province projects the changes will affect about 5,800 people on income assistance, and a further 3,000 on disability assistance.

WATCH: Young and disabled people suffering in B.C. 

Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson said the move will help people stay connected to the workforce, while also helping them make ends meet.

“[People] are really getting up against that wall in terms of using their $9,600, and this is going to give them some more room to be able to continue to do that.”

READ MORE: B.C. ends child-support clawback for poor parents

Sam Turcott from Disability Alliance BC cheered the move.

“We’re very satisfied that this government is taking steps in a relatively quick fashion,” he said.

“We’re looking at these changes as being a big win for the disability community. There’s going to be other battles to fight and there’s always a moving benchmark in B.C. in terms of the cost of living.”

The changes will come into effect on Oct. 1, the same day as a $100 increase in welfare payments.

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