Beginning Sept. 1, 2016, all Persons with Disability (PWD) clients will receive a rate increase of up to $77 a month – providing extra support to 100,000 people in B.C.
The increase provides fairness in the system and more choice for people on disability assistance.
There are currently two transportation supports available to people on disability assistance:
- A subsidized bus pass if they live in communities served by Translink and BC Transit; or
- A Special Transportation Subsidy, which is paid annually and equates to $66 a month.
About 45,000 people on disability assistance, particularly those living in smaller communities, do not receive any form of transportation-related subsidy.
Another, 55,000 people with the Person with Disabilities (PWD) designation receive a subsidized bus pass or the special transportation subsidy. These benefits are in addition to their monthly rates.
- Clients with an existing bus pass will continue to be able to use their bus pass and will get a $25 monthly rate increase starting in September.
- The annual, subsidized bus pass will continue for PWD clients and the application process will not change.
- Existing bus pass clients will receive their 2017 bus pass renewal notification from the ministry starting this summer, as they did last year.
- Those who do not want to renew their annual bus pass can just do nothing. They will automatically receive the full $77 monthly rate increase beginning with the January 2017 payment.
- The subsidized bus pass is a significant savings to people in communities such as Victoria or Vancouver where a monthly pass can cost anywhere from $85 to $170 per month.
- In some communities, where a bus pass costs less than the annual subsidized pass, people may be better off not renewing their annual pass and instead purchasing a bus pass directly from BC Transit with the monthly rate increase of $77. (For example, a bus pass currently costs $40 a month in Fort. St. John, $35 in Quesnel and $44 in Chilliwack).
- There is no change to the BC Bus Pass Program for low income seniors.
Special Transportation Subsidy
- PWD clients receiving the Special Transportation Subsidy (STS), worth $66 per month, will still receive that support, plus an additional $11 per month rate increase starting Sept. 1, 2016.
- Traditionally STS recipients receive a one-time payment for the year in April. Existing STS recipients will receive a prorated check on April 1, 2016 of $329. This represents five months of STS April 1 to Aug. 31. Starting in September, their STS amount will be included in their monthly rate of $77.
Overview of the Rate Increases in September for Different Groups:
- The 45,000 people who do not receive transportation supports will realize the full $77 increase to their monthly cheque.
- People on disability assistance who access a subsidized annual bus pass will see an increase of $25 per month.
- Those who get the Special Transportation Subsidy will still receive that financial support on a monthly basis rather than as an annual payment, plus an additional $11 per month, totalling $77 per month.