Manitoba’s new law to offer more income support for those with severe and prolonged disabilities

New program, distinct from current employment and income assistance, aims to meet unique needs

Manitoba’s new law to offer more income support for those with severe and prolonged disabilities
Bill to create income support framework to support such Manitobans, says families minister

Manitoba has introduced legislation addressing the unique financial, service and accommodation needs of individuals who live with severe and prolonged disabilities and who face multiple barriers to full community participation and social and economic inclusion.

Bill 72, or the Disability Support Act and Amendments to the Manitoba Assistance Act, introduced at the end of April, will establish a new income support program, separate from the current employment and income assistance program, which will include disability and shelter support payments for Manitobans meeting the eligibility criteria found in the regulations, said the province’s news release.

The proposed legislation sets maximum shelter support at 75 per cent of the median market rent, in relation to the person’s household, and provides that an individual receiving disability support or shelter support may receive additional payments or services as considered appropriate, subject to the regulations.

Under the proposed bill 72, the applicant’s financial resources should be considered when determining eligibility for payment, but the legal aid they receive under the Legal Aid Manitoba Act will not be considered when deciding if they are eligible for disability support or shelter support and how much the support payable should be.

Amendments to the Manitoba Assistance Act seek to strengthen the requirements for participating in programming and supports which offer more pathways to employment and to promote practices which adhere to and which improve the understanding of requirements for employment and income assistance.

“This legislation would create an income support framework that would support a better quality of life for these individuals,” said Rochelle Squires, Manitoba’s families minister, in the news release.

The bill aims to assist the provincial government in achieving its long-term commitment to support the specific needs of persons with severe and prolonged disabilities. The preamble of the proposed legislation recognizes that income and income security are crucial determinants of social and economic inclusion and that the government has a responsibility to address barriers faced by those living with severe and prolonged disabilities.

Currently, the applicable legislation treats Manitobans living with severe and prolonged disabilities the same as those with shorter-term or less severe disabilities which lead to temporary losses of employment or lesser barriers to permanent employment.

The proposed legislation includes the input of public and stakeholder consultations held in 2019 and 2020, as well as virtual consultations conducted in February. Feedback widely supported the creation of this new income support program, additional to the employment and income assistance program presently in place.

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