The ODSP Action Coalition has written a letter to Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services, protesting the change in the way the social assistance rate increase is being given this year. Instead of paying a 1% increase in the total allowance for families, they are giving an increase only for the person with a disability, with no increase at all for the non-disabled family members. Thus, a single person on ODSP gets $11.00 per month more, but all ODSP families, regardless of size of family, will also only get a raise of $11.00 per month. If both spouses are disabled, then they will get $22.00.
This change reflects one of the ideas in the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance, which recommended cutting the amount that non-disabled family members of ODSP recipients receive. The Minister had assured the Coalition that there would be further consultations before the controversial changes in the Commission's report were implemented. As small as this change is, it represents a different view of the way rates should be structured, which amounts to a cut in income without first committing to adequate rates which would actually provide for the needs of disabled people--those who are singles, or have families, alike.