While increasing the earnings exemption for those on disability and income assistance is a welcome step, First Call advocates for the provincial government to stop clawing back benefits deemed ‘unearned income’ from IA and PWD recipients. Right now, all Canada Pension Plan benefits and CPP spousal death benefits are clawed back from the cheques of those on IA or PWD.
In the case of single-father advocate Neil Matheson, this amounts to $450 a month in losses, despite the fact that his deceased wife paid into her pension over a 17-year period. Such benefits are crucial income which parents are entitled to. Recommendation 12 in the 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card also advocates for the federal government to cease clawing back the children’s benefit from grandparents on CPP disability who are raising grandchildren. Currently, the children’s benefit is clawed back as soon as they turn 65.
Read Neil’s full story on page 23 of the 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card here.