Friday, October 31, 2008

Taxing the earnings of the developmentally disabled

The province of Ontario has been working on ways to alleviate poverty despite tough economic times. But government admits it may slow down the work.

In looking into ways that government policies can be changed to eliminate poverty. A group has decried a government policy to tax the earnings of the developmentally disabled who find work. Also, half of the unemployed benefits are taken back.

As the Canadian Press reports, Liberal party leaders say these taxes condemn the developmentally disabled to a life of poverty.

The government takes back half the earnings of disabled people who find a job while collecting up to $999 a month under Ontario's disability support program, said NDP critic Michael Prue. The disabled have a hard enough time finding work that pays a decent wage without being punished for trying to better their lives, he said.

"We find this heinous," Prue said.

"What in effect it does, is it said that if you are born with a developmental disability, you for all times are destined to poverty - there's no way out."

Those who receive the benefit actually receive an additional $100 a month if they find work, said Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews.

But the province deducts 50 cents from the monthly benefit for every dollar the recipient earns, she said.

"It's not a pension, like if you have a disability, you'll get it," Matthews said.

"It's a needs-based program, so there are asset tests and so on."


Of the nearly 250,000 people receiving assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program, about 28,000, or 11 per cent, had employment earnings, up from eight per cent, or 16,273, in 2003, said Thomas Chanzy. About 41,500 recipients have a developmental disability.

1 comment:

Steve Kimes said...

Pretty clever. Tax the people who most need the break and can't do anything about it. Oppression in action!