Disabled-allowance raise could be a reduction

When the news first came, I thought that 20,000 British Columbians losing the special transportation subsidy was my biggest concern. We received this subsidy because multiple disabilities made it impossible for us to use public transportation.

The government withdrew the transportation subsidy paid annually and said our new “raise” of $77 per month would offset the loss. What that actually means is that once we factor in the loss of the transportation subsidy, we are actually only receiving a raise of $11 per month, the first one in almost a decade.

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For those of us who live in low-income housing, whether the “raise” will result in increased rent, which is based on income, is yet to be determined. If rent increases as a result of the “raise,” that will be a $19-a-month reduction instead.

Many of the medical supplies people with disabilities need, such as topical creams for infection, are not covered. Physiotherapy is not possible for us because we can’t afford the $20 user fee. Many of us have diabetes due, in part, to reduced activity levels due to disabilities. We cannot afford to eat some days, let alone purchase the healthy foods diabetics need. Many of us are living without hope in what can only be called “government legislated malnutrition.”

I hope the low rates for people with disabilities will become an important issue in the next election.

Hugh Baker

Nanaimo

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