Community Update: September 1st increase to PWD benefit rates and changes to the Bus Pass Program

Dear Community Partner,

The February 16th 2016 provincial budget contained some significant changes for people receiving the Persons with Disabilities benefit (PWD) which will start on September 1st 2016. Below is a description of the changes taken from communications from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI):

  • People with the PWD designation will receive a $77 per month increase to their support allowance.
  • PWD recipients will no longer be able to purchase an annual bus pass for a $45 annual fee.
  • PWD recipients who want to continue receiving a subsidized bus pass through the Ministry will pay $52 per month, plus an annual $45 administration fee. The $52 will be deducted from people’s monthly cheque.
  • After September 1st, individuals who decide they don’t want to have the $52 a month bus pass can turn it in at any time and get the $77 increase for the following months.
  • PWD clients who qualify for the Special Transportation Subsidy (STS) will no longer receive an annual lump payment. They will receive the $77 a month increase: $66 of this amount will replace the STS annual lump sum payment.
  • PWD clients who have been receiving the STS annual payment will have a pro-rated amount in their April cheque. It will be pro-rated for 5 months (April – August).
  • There is no change to the BC Bus Pass Program for low-income seniors or for income assistance recipients aged 60-64. The Ministry will continue to provide a subsidized pass to eligible seniors for the annual $45 administration fee.

Rate amounts after September 2016 (single person; we have no information about couples and family rates):

$983.42          (no bus pass or Special Transportation Subsidy)

$931.42          (with bus pass)

$983.42          (includes Special Transportation Subsidy)

This information is as we understand the September 1st 2016 changes. We will update this as we receive more information.

Disability Alliance BC (DABC) is very disappointed with these changes. This rate increase is clearly inadequate and we are concerned about the impact the elimination of the $45 annual bus pass program will have for PWD recipients.

Jane Dyson, Executive Director

Robin Loxton, Advocacy Access Program Director