Qualifying for the CERB can put Ontarians with disabilities in a tricky financial spot (NOW Toronto)
From Now Toronto – It’s no secret that Torontonians with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and there’s a fear among the disabled community that they would not receive adequate treatment while in hospital.
Recently, the Ontario government has made it even more difficult for them to self-isolate and afford basic needs, even if they qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The CERB provides up to $2,000 a month for up to 16 weeks to people who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands Ontarians with disabilities already receive income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), but the maximum any single individual can receive already puts people 30 to 40 per cent below the poverty line at $1,169 a month. People on ODSP can work, but any income they earn is clawed back at $0.50 on the dollar and deducted from the cheque after the first $200.
After a month of uncertainty, the province announced on April 21 that the CERB would be treated as income if you are among the estimated 75,000 Ontarians with disabilities who receive ODSP but also qualify for the federal benefit (having made $5,000 in 2019). ODSP would be clawed back at the usual rate and an individual could expect to lose $900 from their cheque despite the federal government recommending the CERB not be treated as income.