Dear Minister Simpson
Hello and greetings. I know that you’re busy with running a very complex and diverse ministry, and I know that you have plenty of experts giving you advice on how to change (and hopefully improve) services. As a long-term receiver of these services I believe that I too am something of an expert regarding the ministry and how it delivers its services to people with disabilities, so I decided to give my two cents worth as to how to improve things for people with disabilities in the province.
First and foremost, I believe it is important during this transitionary period to not only know what to change but what not to change. In regards to what not to change. Please keep the changes that the former BC Liberal government made to the Person With Disability benefits. The increase in asset limits to $100,000 and the change of the earnings limits from monthly to annual calculation.
These changes allow people with disabilities to own substantial assets who would not otherwise be eligible to the Registered Disability Savings Plan, and to keep more profit from seasonal work or businesses. The changes have also reduced the amount of fear that people with disabilities have of financials aid workers intruding into their lives to make sure that their birthday month didn’t push them over the monthly limit, and other such nonsense.
While keeping the positive changes to PWD is important, I would also urge you some other changes. Tying PWD payments to inflation would be an excellent start. As well allowing people to buy more taxi savers every month would be a real help as well. The current limit of $50 a month just does not go as far we it did when I started to buy them in the 1990s.
However, Minister Simpson one of your biggest challenges that I think you need to tackle is the level of disconnect between the ministry staff and those they serve. I use the word ‘serve’ deliberately, in an idea situation the financial aid worker should help neutralize the person’s disability impact upon their lives serving as conduit of services that help improve their quality of life. Instead to many of the people who work within your Ministry have the opinion that we must jump through their bureaucratic hoops to have the privilege of receiving a pension that keeps us well below an measure of a poverty line that is out there.
If you can help change that then you will have truly made a great positive impact in people with disabilities than we’ve had in a very long time.