Disability benefits increasing

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell says subsidized bus pass system continues, 40,000 rural people to get same value

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell

A $77 increase in monthly income assistance for disabled people will make the system fairer for rural B.C. residents who don’t have access to transit service, Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell says.

The increase, the first in nine years, has been the target of protests because the cost of monthly transit passes is deducted from it for those who were using the pass. Their increase is only $25 a month plus the continued transit pass.

“There were 40,000 individuals in this province who weren’t eligible for the bus pass program because of the location where they live, because it wasn’t a service that was provided,” Stilwell said. “So what we’ve done is levelled the playing field for people with disabilities, and provided those individuals with a choice on how they want to spend their money.”

The increase is to take effect Sept. 1, at an annual cost of $170 million to the provincial treasury.