Long-promised disability assistance payments to be made in the fall

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OTTAWA – Canadians with disabilities who are waiting for the one-time federal promised tax-free payment of up to $ 600 will start receiving this money this fall. As part of the amended payment program, the federal government has decided to expand eligibility to thousands of additional Canadians with disabilities and, as a result, has opened a 60-day application window for those looking to access the benefit. , to apply for an existing federal disability. Tax credit.

The one-time payment will be sent to everyone who is certified under this program, and Canadians who may be eligible but not already certified now have until September 25 to apply.

“We recognize that since the application process involves medical professionals, the time allotted must be sufficient to allow for medical appointments and paperwork, which may take longer during the pandemic,” the office said. from the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough. in a report.

The government estimates that 1.7 million Canadians will be able to receive the payment, citing those currently receiving other federal and provincial assistance as potentially eligible.

The amount each claimant will receive will vary if they access other federal assistance payments, such as the one-time payment for seniors:

  • Canadians who have a valid disability tax credit certificate will receive $ 600.

  • Canadians eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive $ 300.

  • Canadians who qualify for both of these programs and who also qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive $ 100.

The financial aid payment was first pledged on June 5 and was intended to offset the financial pressures of the pandemic, sending the payments to anyone who is already eligible and held a valid certificate for the tax credit. for disabled people.

The government said that those who qualified – at the time 1.2 million Canadians at a cost of $ 548 million – would receive it automatically, without applying. This remains the case, but anyone who is not yet eligible for the disability tax credit, but who could be, must apply and be approved to receive this money.

The bill that allows for the implementation of one-time payments, Bill C-20, received Royal Assent on July 27. It comes after the Liberals failed to garner the all-party support needed to pass an earlier aid bill that included Payments. After that, the government said it was looking for other ways to make the payments, but then went back to legislation.

In order to deliver these payments accurately, Employment and Social Development Canada is implementing a new delivery system.

“We’re going to do the heavy lifting. It’s going to be administratively very complicated at the end of the day, but as a result, we’re doing our best to make it happen, ”Qualtrough said during a speech on Bill C-20 in the House of Commons on. July 20.

Some Canadians with disabilities watched the various ads aimed at students, seniors and other targeted demographic groups during the height of the emergency phase of the pandemic, and wondered why they seemed to have fallen through the cracks.

Many people who are already living on low incomes face more expenses as a result of the pandemic, such as increased costs for personal support workers, private transportation, grocery delivery costs, and issuance fees. prescription drugs.

“This one-time payment is a very important step, but it is only one of many steps to be taken to ensure the quality of access and opportunities for people with disabilities in Canada… As we work hard to restart safely our economy and recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, we cannot leave anyone behind, and we certainly cannot leave behind our most innovative and creative problem solvers, who are our citizens with disabilities, ”said Qualtrough.

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