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Demanding Modern Disability Benefits

photo credit: Sjoerd Lammers street photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Sjoerd Lammers street photography via photopin cc

Jennifer Mizrahi’s article is demanding modern benefits for people living with disabilities.  She’s asking for benefits that encourage, support, and promote maximizing the abilities of individuals.  Her article is written with the American system in mind but we face similar issues here in Canada.

My main beef with our current model: once a person begins earning money, they start losing the corresponding amount from their government allowance.

There are those who think, ‘But that’s completely logical.  Why would we continue to pay if a person is earning wages?’

As those of us in the CL world know, it’s tough to find work. People with disabilities are frequently undervalued and discriminated against in the workforce.  Despite the thoroughly researched benefits of hiring a person with a disability, it can be brutally difficult to break the unemployment cycle.

Second, the work a person finds is often part-time and entry level.  Which again seems normal.  We all start with jobs like that.  The difference?  We didn’t lose income by getting said job.

My first job I worked as a waitress in a popular local truck stop.  I was exhausted and confused 95% of those first 2 weeks but it was worth it for my first pay cheque.

If I had had a disability, my first paycheque likely wouldn’t have made me money.  All those long hours of learning, making rookie mistakes, and being tired would have put me ahead zero dollars.  That’s an incredibly frustrating and demotivating model.

I think we should move to a model where benefits continue to be paid until a person breaks the poverty line.  To many people my idea probably sounds crazy.  Here’s why not.

Our economy succeeds when people spend money.  To do that, people need to feel financially stable and secure.  Our current model encourages millions of Canadians living with disability not to work.  It especially penalizes the many people  that can only sustainably work part-time due to their unique abilities.  That’s a lot of people that could be paying taxes, making positive contributions to our workforce, and living a truly inclusive lifestyle.

What do you guys think?  Do you support people who are receiving social assistance?  Do you think they should be able to keep that money until they reach a certain threshold?  If not, what do you think we should advocate for instead?  


Inclusion Blog Post

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