Income Support for Persons With Disabilities


  • Ronald D. Kneebone University of Calgary
  • Oksana Grynishak University of Calgary



Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario all maintain separate income-support programs for the disabled. This paper examines the criteria applicants must meet for each program and traces variations in monthly payment levels in relation to political exigencies and inflationary pressures affecting the cost of living. As it is impossible to settle on a definitive way to measure poverty, the authors present several proposals and compare all of them with the income recipients realize from each of the three programs. While acknowledging that the precise level of income support for the disabled is ultimately a value judgment, they suggest that the existing income-support program provided by the federal government for impoverished seniors is a suitable baseline. The authors crunch the numbers to reveal the amounts Alberta, BC and Ontario would have to spend to bring their existing income-support programs for the disabled up to the level of similar programs for seniors. Finally, they recommend that governments index income support for the disabled to inflation. Governments already take inflation into account for taxpayers and seniors and the authors believe the disabled should not be treated differently.






Research Papers