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Kendall Worth: People with disabilities still waiting for one-time $600 COVID-19 support

Photo by Steven HWG on Unsplash

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember my recent open letter to the Prime Minister, Dear Prime Minister, punishing poor people doesn’t solve anything, about the plan to punish people who knowingly received CERB payments while not qualifying.

As well as bringing up the concerns about the CERB in this letter, I also mentioned the one time $600 for persons with disabilities who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit.  

The sad news to date is that this bill got shot down by the opposition. As Richard Starr explained, “The Conservatives wanted more time to debate the bill, part of their campaign to resume normal Parliamentary proceedings. The Bloc wanted concessions in other areas and the NDP were opposed to the CERB crackdown.”  

I have within the past couple of days heard from some people in the disability community who are concerned about the delay of this one time $600 payment. The Prime Minister said in his June 15th address “we will get this resolved this week”, but nothing has happened so far. 

The people I heard from gave me permission to call them Dawn, Jake, Donna, and Joe, not their real names. I have been in touch with these people over the weekend, and just yesterday they asked me to write about why the delay, and why they are concerned. 

Although not everybody with a disability qualifies, all four of them are people who do qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. 

They also told me that they do not qualify for the CERB. That is because even though they work part time, they earn under $5000 a year at their jobs that supplement their income from income assistance.

They were counting on that $600 to help them offset extra cost they incurred during COVID-19.

We can all agree it is frustrating. First the delay, and now people being left in the dark as to whether or not the one time payment issue has been resolved. 

Anyway, on June 15th, 2020 the prime minister did say that it would be resolved, and since then he had not brought up the disability payment in his addresses to the nation and nothing has been reported in the news about whether or not that has been resolved.  The people I am talking with in this story believe that parliament is too long winded on other matters. 

I asked Any Filmore, the Liberal member of parliament for Halifax.

“This financial support matters and Canadians with disabilities can have confidence that our government will continue to work to find a solution to deliver this supplement,” someone in his office replied in an email.

Let’s keep hoping for the best!

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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34 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. I have emailed Andy Fillmore’s office four times, I’ve only gotten a response twice. They keep saying it’s coming, but no one is doing anything, no one is talking about it anymore. Seniors got a one time benefit as did those with the child tax credit but once again the disabled seem to be second class citizens. If there’s some thing I can do to aid with encouraging the government to move this forward I would certainly be willing to help. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. I am on Canada Pension Plan disability. I am confused about this tax credit. Does everyone getting this one time payment have to get this DTC certificate?
      I don’t understand why we have to get this?
      It’s hard enough to be disabled and now it seems we have to get this tax credit. I don’t even know how to get this? It’s so unfair, why can’t they just give us the one time payment? Which by the way isn’t much money.
      Then we don’t have a date? And nobody is giving us information about it. I can’t believe the opposition is against it! Shame on you! Justin Trudeau is the boss and it’s his decision! He doesn’t need the oppositions approval!
      Let’s stand up for ourselves and protest against this shameful decision by the opposition. It’s a no brainer! It should of been passed that day! The opposition are heartless obviously!

      Reply
      1. I agree with you 100%. Every person with a disability and on low income (and most people with disabilities are very poor) should get that $600. Unfortunately, the government decided to narrow it down to just those with a DTC certificate as the fact that you have one means your disability is severe. Not sure if you’ll see my reply to your other comment below so I’ll leave the same link. You won’t be getting that $600, sorry. Neither will I but that’s because my income is provincial income assistance for reasons of disability and I don’t pay tax. You would have already needed to have a DTC certificate which takes months to get, if you get it at all. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

        Reply
  2. What’s the point of living if the government won’t help the disability in a time of crisis? It’s a slap in the face. I fill like its our falt that we are disable. Some wore born this way. We didnt ask for this. Thank you for making us fill like we are worthless. I have too disable children’s and thay are qualified for the disability tax credit of 600$. We been staying in the house seens March 13th because we would not servive out there.

    Reply
    1. That $600 is not a disability tax credit. It is a one-time payment meant to help with extra expenses for people with disabilities due to the pandemic, such as masks and gloves, grocery delivery charges, etc. However, if you have a Disability Tax Credit certificate for one or both of your children, than you should get the $600 if and when the federal government ever decides to send it out.

      Reply
      1. The bill passed 4 days ago (July 20, 2020). I would imagine if you have 2 children both with DTC certificates they would get $600 each so the family will get $1,200. . . For the woman who thought Trudeau is the Boss, LOL! he is not. We have a hung federal Parliament. That means one or the other parties has to agree to support the government in order for the government’s bills to pass. The opposition parties’ issues have been resolved and the bill is on the way to becoming law. There is a little window for you to apply to get the DTC certificate so get cracking and apply! The criteria are tough though so not everyone on CPP-D qualifies for a Disability Tax Credit certificate nor does everyone on ODSP or provincial assistance. People on provincial social assistance won’t qualify either unless they have the DTC certificate. People on OAS and straight CPP won’t qualify either unless they have the DTC certificate! There are still a lot of slips between the cup and the lip, it seems.

        Reply
        1. Those on provincial income assistance for reasons of disability don’t qualify for the DTC because that is a tax credit that reduces the amount of tax you pay and income assistance is not taxed in the first place. However, if someone on provincial assistance also does some part-time work, they can apply for the DTC and if they already have it, they’ll get that $600. It takes a long time to get approved for DTC so starting the process now will not mean you will get that $600. You already have to have the DTC to get that.

          Reply
  3. I’m disabled and use to get the DTC when I was working I can’t work anymore due to my disability so now I’m on cpp and they tell me that I don’t qualify for the $600 one time payment I thought people with disability are all equal how do people like me get this message to our PM

    Reply
    1. Assuming you still have the DTC now that you are on CPP, you ARE eligible for the $600. Who told you that you weren’t? If the reason is because you no longer get the DTC because you are now on CPP, this is wrong too. You would still get the DTC because CPP is a taxable income.

      Reply
      1. You can never get a straight answer from anyone in any government departments. I called several including CAR to ask whether I would qualify for CERB Bering on CPPdisability.I worked and made over $5000 last year and received the DTC. The fellow who I spoke to at CRA while waiting for an answer from a supervisor told me he fixed furniture for the CRA know wonder we can’t get straight answers! I only get $850 in COP disability so I applied for CERB and received it as by their written criteria I qualify. It is added stress with any of these benefits as to whether you are truly eligible or not.

        Reply
        1. “I only get $850 in COP disability so I applied for CERB and received it”: The only way anyone qualifies for CERB is if they lost your job directly due to the pandemic. CERB is not a replacement for CPP or any other type of government assistance. It has nothing to do with whether you are a person with a disability. “as by their written criteria I qualify”: Then someone has made a mistake. You did not state in your comment that you lost your job due to the pandemic so that means you should not have been given CERB. You may find that you will have to give it all back.

          If you have a DCT, you will get $600 if and when the federal government ever distributes it.

          Reply
        2. Can you read? If you qualify from the written criteria, apply. Don’t listen to an employee whose financial future isn’t at stake. You’re right! A lot of them don’t understand the regulations. Has your DTC certificate expired? If it has, there’s a small window in which you can renew your application and get another DTC certificate. If you were eligible for the DTCC before and nothing has changed, you should either still have it or can get it renewed.

          Reply
  4. I haven’t received the $600 and I have the disability tax credit. These people just like to lie to people. It should be against the law to give false information to your constituents. I will never vote Conservative again. Such fucking liars.
    This is what my MP’s office sent to me on July 3rd:

    The only payment available for anyone on CPPD or Aish is if you have applied for the Disability Tax Credit. If so you should be receiving money next week. If you are getting the Disability Tax Credit and do not receive any extra money by the end of next week please contact our office.

    Sincerely

    cid:1683eb248f74ce8e91

    Lynda Werning

    Case Manager
    Office of Ziad Aboultaif
    Member of Parliament for Edmonton Manning

    780-822-1540

    Reply
  5. I am totally confused! I am on CPP disability and I don’t know if I have a disability tax credit. I have done my taxes so do I still have to apply for DTC certificate? I’ve never heard of that!
    Why can’t they just give us this one time payment! I have been approved for disability 15 years ago and I have a prolonged and severe illness and have proved this in my application. So what do I have to do now? It doesn’t make sense and I wish they would clarify who qualifies! They should give us a date of when we get this payment. It’s so frustrating!
    We are the sick, we should be top priority!
    The Prime Minister said we should get it so he’s the boss!
    Where is it?
    Shame on you Conservatives for blocking this!!!
    Maria Kidd

    Reply
    1. “Maria” & “Stacie”

      1st EVERYONE blocked it not just the Conservatives (please read the article you’ve commented on in completely)

      – The Bloc wanted concessions in other areas.
      – NDP were opposed to the CERB crackdown.
      – The Conservatives wanted more time to debate the bill, part of their campaign to resume normal Parliamentary proceedings.
      – The Liberals refused 2 more hours debate.

      Plenty of “blame” to go around!

      The mainstream media (lead by the Liberal loving CBC) overlooks and misreports that it was the “Conservatives” who blocked the bill. All they wanted is more time to debate (something that we all could benefit from with the Liberals in power), as it appears the our Prime Minister is incapable of following the simples of rules when it comes to money.

      Freddy Jones

      Reply
      1. It’s coming! It was o.k.’d by the House of Commons 4 days ago. You don’t need the DTC certificate if you are on CPP-D, but you do if you are on only CPP even if you used to get CPP-D, but don’t any more. EVen those with a fairly good income are going to get the $600 if they have the DTC certificate. Here’s hoping the provincial disability plans will follow suit.

        Reply
    2. The one-time payment of $600 is to help with extra expenses related to the pandemic, such as masks and gloves. Only Canadians who have a Disability Tax Credit (DTC) certificate will get this money. The issue is further complicated by the long delay in sending out the money. The fact that you have never even heard of the Disability Tax Credit means you definitely don’t have a DTC certificate. You only get that if you apply for it. The eligibility criteria is extremely strict and a doctor must fill out forms which are then sent to the federal government for review. It takes several months to find out if you qualify and only a very small percentage of people with disabilities do qualify. Also, you can only get a DTC is your income is taxable because the purpose of it is to reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay. For example, if you receive provincial income assistance as your only income, you would never qualify as there is no tax charged on provincial income assistance. However, CPP is taxable. I suggest you apply for it but it won’t help you get that $600 now. I am not sure whether links show up in comments in here so if not, do a web search for “disability tax credit” and it’s the first search result. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

      Reply
  6. I am confused as well. I am on CPPD. I claim a disability tax credit on my taxes but I don’t recall filling out this so called form to obtain a certificate. What is this certificate? It should be anyone on CPPD or disability program that should be eligible. It should have nothing to do with a certificate. Let’s get this dealt with. Hopefully the conservatives blocked this so that all disabled ( not just certificate holders) can receive it.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Greer
      Get out your 2019 tax return & if line 31600 is filled out you have the certificate (basic amount $8416.00). It’s extraordinarily hard to qualify for and for years after you first do qualify CRA asks repeatedly for supporting documentation. Once CRA finally does accept your disability it is required you inform them of “any” changes that “may” affect your eligibility.

      This about sums it up (from Form T2201):

      “Effects of impairment – Mandatory
      The effects of your patient’s impairment must be those which, even with therapy and the use of appropriate devices and medication, cause your patient to be restricted all or substantially all of the time (at least 90% of the time).
      Note
      Working, housekeeping, managing a bank account, and social or recreational activities are not considered basic activities of daily living.

      Basic activities of daily living are limited to walking, speaking, hearing, dressing, feeding, eliminating (bowel or bladder functions), and
      mental functions necessary for everyday life.

      It is mandatory that you describe the effects of your patient’s impairment on his or her ability to do each of the basic activities of daily living that you indicated are or were markedly or significantly restricted. If you need more space, use a separate sheet of paper, sign it and attach it to this form. You may include copies of medical reports, diagnostic tests, and any other medical information, if needed.”

      So, the $600 payment will go to very few “disabled” compared to the generous application of “CERB”. Thanks goes to our Prime Minister for that. The votes are in the CERB numbers not those few disabled that can be swept to the corner without cost to the re-election plan.

      Freddy Jones

      Reply
      1. To Carrie: “I claim a disability tax credit on my taxes but I don’t recall filling out this so called form” The only way you are getting a reduction on the taxes you pay with the Disability Tax Credit is if a doctor filled out forms indicating that you meet very specific, very strict criteria. Claiming the tax credit means nothing if you haven’t already had those forms filled out by a doctor, sent to the federal government and, after several months, you were told you were approved. If none of those things happened, you do not have a DTC certificate. Do you remember a doctor filling out the forms? Are you actually paying less tax by claiming the disability tax credit? If so, you will get the $600 if they ever send it out.

        Reply
      2. To Fred: “if line 31600 is filled out you have the certificate” Putting something in a line on your tax return doesn’t mean you have a DTC certificate. Perhaps I have misunderstood your comment. A person only has a DTC certificate if they got the forms, gave them to their doctor, their doctor filled them out indicating severe disabilities, the forms were sent to the government, and after several months, you are approved. A long detailed process, that Carrie does not recall having happened, meaning she either did not go through this process or she has memory issues. And not remembering is possible due to severe stress, chronic health issues, and that she may have been approved many years ago.

        Reply
        1. Erica

          My apologies, I was speaking in broad terms (I’m FULLY aware of the “process” and it’s restrictions).

          If she couldn’t remember (line 31600 specifically states “IF” you qualify attach “***”) & if done by a tax preparer looking there would indicate “if” she had gone through the process. NO professional tax preparer would EVER fill that line out without the proper documentation. I was suggesting a first step would be to look at line 31600 (most likely if it is filled out she would have gone through the process) as nobody I’m aware of just randomly fills out their taxes without reading the requirements and submitting the proper documentation. If this had been done years ago then one may have “forgotten” the process. But Nobody that has ever had it (and continues to qualify) would ever not fill in line 31600.

          So what I meant was…what I said, look at line 31600 as a first step.
          Fred

          Reply
          1. I quote CRA:

            “Line 31600 – Disability amount (for self)
            You may be able to claim the disability amount if the CRA approved your Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, that was certified by a medical practitioner.

            To be eligible, you must have had a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions during 2019. An impairment is prolonged if it has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

            If you were eligible for the disability tax credit for 2018 and you still meet the eligibility requirements in 2019, you can claim this amount without sending the CRA a new Form T2201. However, you must send the CRA a new one if the previous period of approval ended before 2019 or if the CRA asks you to.

            For more information, see Guide RC4064, Disability Related Information, or go to Tax credits and deductions for persons with disabilities.”

      3. My husband gets the DTC certificate. He has no hands. He is also a type 1 diabetic. He can do most of the stuff that the CRA is calling Basic Activities of Daily Living, but he can’t manage his own blood glucose which means his blood glucose would be seriously impaired and impair him if it didn’t kill him. Why doesn’t the list include being able to provide yourself with medication and therapy as well as what is listed?

        Reply
  7. Well everyone the door may be opening up a little wider for those on disability:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/07/x.html

    the important part to most is this:

    “Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced that the Government of Canada intends to propose legislation that would make the benefit available to more people and expand the one-time payment to include approximately 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities, who are recipients of any of the following programs or benefits:

    A Disability Tax Credit certificate provided by the Canada Revenue Agency;
    Canada Pension Plan disability benefit or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit; and
    Disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

    The Government has shared draft legislative proposals that would facilitate these payments. If enacted, eligible Canadians would receive the payment automatically.”

    Which is “EXACTLY” how it should’ve been from the beginning (If you are disabled, you are disabled and as “worthy” of help as those who are not (I would suggest more worthy)).

    Just in case you didn’t see it I wanted to share it!

    Fred

    Reply
    1. This still excludes those who are on provincial income assistance for reasons of disability. Provincial income assistance in Nova Scotia, ESIA, is not a “disability” income, it’s just income assistance, welfare, therefore, technically, anyone who gets it, it just considered to be on assistance. Ironic because the majority of those receiving ESIA are people with disabilities so we receive a higher amount than those who are healthy but currently unemployed. I have been unable to work for thirty years because of debilitating medical issues and I’m also in a wheelchair. I would qualify very easily for the DTC if my income was a taxed one. The source of one’s income should not be the criteria for receiving that $600 – one should get it based on one’s level of income and one’s condition of having a disability.

      Of course, if people with disabilities were valued members of society in the first place, we would not be forced to live in abject poverty, and therefore, would not need the $600 if we were already receiving a decent income.

      Reply
  8. People have to be responsible for applying for benefits…Doctors wont suggest filling in the DTC paper work….even if you dont pay taxes the DTC allows you to apply for the RDSP ( Registered Disability Savings Plan) you can not get this unless you have an approved DTC…the Govt will put in a grand a year as a grant and match 3 times if family put money into your account. They also go back 10 years or the day of your disability……many people get 10 grand all at once or more. I have help people apply for the DTC and sometimes have had to appeal it 3 times but always won. CRA workers are not doctors so I find it unfair that they judge and deny…but thats a debate for another day. Also if you have a family member that helps you…Ie grocery shopping…house cleaning…doc appointments they can claim you DTC credit and get the money…so the DTC is a valuable credit to have in many ways.

    Reply
    1. “even if you dont pay taxes ” – The DTC is a tax credit that reduces the amount of tax you pay on your taxed income. If you don’t pay taxes, you can’t get a tax credit. Perhaps I have misunderstood what you meant.

      Reply

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