Tory disability plan backfires

When Conservative leader Ed Stelmach announced his party would increase financial supports for people with disabilities in Alberta he likely didn’t imagine his announcement would provoke public anger and frustration from disability groups — but that’s what happened.

In the midst of his government’s pre-election spending spree Stelmach announced monthly living allowances for people with disabilities would increase by $38 to $1088. On February 6 the Conservatives said they would also increase the amount people with disabilities could earn without diminishing their living allowance. Far from appeasing disability groups however the announcements drew attention to the low support levels for people with disabilities and prompted the Calgary Scope Society’s Disability Action Hall to publicly call the announcement “too little too late.”

“The $1088 is not enough to make ends meet” says the Disability Action Hall’s Colleen Huston. “We just find this is a moral crisis for our government.” According to the group about 63 per cent of a single person’s living allowance goes to shelter leaving $400 for food clothing and other living expenses for the rest of the month. Huston says the Disability Action Hall is pushing all parties to come up with a strong social policy that will give people with disabilities a living allowance they can actually live on.