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Manitoba government launches Disability Income Support Program

Woman in wheelchair working in the office

The Manitoba government is officially launching Manitoba Supports for Persons with Disabilities, a new disability income support program that will provide better supports and services for Manitobans living with severe and prolonged disabilities, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for accessibility announced on Thursday.

“Our government heard that Manitobans wanted us to create a new income support program for persons with disabilities separate from Employment and Income Assistance (EIA), and we responded with concrete action,” said Squires. “We passed Bill 72, the Disability Support Act and Amendments to the Manitoba Assistance Act in October 2021 to lay the foundation for this new support framework. We then engaged with the public and stakeholders and consulted a dedicated community advisory committee to tailor a program that responds to the specific needs of clients.”

Clients who enrol in the Manitoba Supports for Persons with Disabilities program will have access to the same financial, health and other benefits available to EIA clients. The minister also noted that the basic needs amount will be indexed annually to inflation effective April 1, 2023.

Clients enrolled in the program will also receive:

  • an assigned financial worker to issue monthly benefits;
  • increased benefits of approximately $100 per month;
  • laundry and phone allowances automatically added to budgets;
  • ability to earn up to $12,000 per year before benefits are impacted; and
  • access to health benefits for two years after a file closes.

Clients can also choose to access a comprehensive suite of person-centred community navigation supports including referrals to other programs and benefits, assistance with building support networks, and help to increase community participation and inclusion, added Squires.

“These changes are exciting and myself and other members of the disability community in Manitoba are pleased to see them begin to roll out in January,” said Jessica Croy, special advisor to the minister on disability-related issues.

The program enrolment will open in two phases.

On Jan. 1, 2023, enrolment will open to Manitobans currently receiving EIA through the persons with disabilities category who are in one of three prescribed classes:

  • people who receive services from Community Living disABILITY Services;
  • people who live in personal care homes; and
  • people who are receiving the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit.

Individuals in these prescribed classes will not need to provide any new financial or medical information and will receive information in the coming weeks on migrating to the new program.

Starting on April 1, 2023, current EIA clients not in the prescribed classes will be able to apply by completing a brand new disability impact assessment, noted Squires, adding the assessment is being developed in collaboration with community stakeholders to ensure it is fair, equitable and accessible.

All other Manitobans can apply to the program beginning April 1, 2023. A centralized intake and financial assessment will determine if individuals are financially eligible to participate in the disability impact assessment.

The minister also noted the Disability Support Regulation was recently open to a consultation period intended to seek feedback from the community. A series of engagement sessions have been facilitated to gather input on the contents of the regulation and program design. The feedback collected continues to be carefully considered and, in combination with ongoing consultation and partnership with the community, will be used to support the continuous improvement of the new program following the launch.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the community as the Manitoba Supports program rolls out as part of transforming income assistance to provide services that are better tailored to the specific needs of clients,” said Squires. “We are focused on building programs that assess each client’s situation and can meet them where they are at to provide them the assistance they need.”

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