Community Update Re: Zyprexa Class Action

People receiving basic income assistance or disability benefits (PWD or PPMB) who are part of the Zyprexa Class Action are starting to receive cheques for amounts of up to $10,000 and in some cases more.

Benefits recipients are required to declare this payout to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), however small it may be.

The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) has contacted MSD’s Vancouver Regional Office to determine how the Ministry is going to treat this income. We have been advised that MSD considers this payout as a one time financial award that will be exempted up to a family unit’s asset level. [Please see Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation Schedule B, Section 7(c)]

This means that if, for example, a single PWD recipient receives a payout of less than $3,000 through the class action it will not affect their disability benefits. When a payout is over the allowed family unit asset level, benefits will be reduced or stopped for at least one month depending on the size of the payout. However most recipients who receive a payout that is more than their asset level should not have their benefits reduced or stopped for more than one month.

The MSD rules on asset and income exemptions are complex. We know from clients and other organizations that there is confusion and misunderstanding in the community about how Zyprexa payouts impact benefits. Consequently some people may have not reported their payout or spent all the money they received.

If you hear from people concerned about how Zyprexa class action payouts affect their benefits we strongly recommend that they speak to an advocate.

Please feel free to contact or refer them to Robin Loxton at 604-872-1278, or toll-free long-distance: 1-800-663-1278.