The first NDP budget for 17 years was just announced – and no surprises that it’s a spending budget! Here’s some of the items that impact people with disabilities
- There are no increases to the disability allowance, but last year saw a total of $150 of raises. It’s still not enough, and it would be better if it was indexed linked to inflation, so we will keep hoping for the future.
- Poverty reduction is a big focus for this government. The plans aren’t ready for this budget, so hopefully they will come soon.
- MSP premiums will be gone by January 2020, and there have been changes to Fair Pharmacare to make prescription drugs more affordable for those with the lowest levels of income.
- Affordable housing is a priority. People with disabilities are not mentioned as a group in need of support, but hopefully accessible housing will be included in the new builds.
- Plans are being put in place to improve care, with an injection of money over 3 years. The report only mentions seniors, however. The needs of people with disabilities under the age of 65 are both similar and different, and it’s important that the government hears that message.
- There have been some tweaks to the Caregiver’s tax credit. It seems bizarre that this is index linked, while the disability allowance isn’t, and it would be more of a benefit for all if it was a refundable tax credit, but it’s a start.
So the budget shows promise in many areas of spending, but really, there’s not enough directly targeted to people with disabilities – the one minority group that everyone could join, at any time.
Full details of the budget can be found at BC Budget 2018.