Why Don’t We Have A National Disability Strategy?

It’s almost 2020 and Canada still does not have a National Disability Strategy. Why? When? How? Do we get such a program into Canada as soon as possible.

Right now it looks like the majority of the Provinces based Disability Programs are running around 50% under the poverty line and it’s just beyond unacceptable. How can someone survive at 50% under the Poverty Line especially with a disability?

Using Ontario for an Example your Shelter amount is just under $500 a month. So if you just hit 18 and have to move out on your own or if your 55 and been living at the same place for the past 30 years it’s just not enough to live off. Show me where someone can live a comfortable life at $500 a month in Ontario let alone Toronto. Hint it’s not suitable for someone to be stuck with roommates till they die…. That should be your younger days period and even then those with disabilities might need more privacy to begin with. Imagine being stuck with a disability where you have bowl issues, chronic pain, living in a Basement with 3 other people of both sex’s and having an embarrassing problems and then someone like a PSW coming to this place and helping you shower in such an environment… Beyond Disgusting.

Another thing I hear a lot is people asking the Government to try living like someone on Disability, etc for 30 days and call it the 30 day Challenge. Sorry, but that is not how that works at all. Try the 30 year challenge instead. Just imagine the conditions above on top of the worst foods for your body over a 30 year period. People actually end up with other disabilities because of the conditions their forced to endure. Then factor the types of disabilities someone might have like movement, pain, etc. There is so many other costs on top of that.

This is why universal basic income (UBI ) programs out there are suggesting a minimal of 25% increase to those with Disabilities. So that idea is you are on the Poverty Line and then those with disabilities get a bit more because of many factors in their life tends to make their costs of living more expensive because of their needs and requirements.

We have very few programs to help those with Disabilities and most of them are at the child level and tax paying level (the Rich). You have special programs for Children with Autism who are under funded. You have a Caregiver Tax Break for the Rich… Yes I said the rich, how the heck can someone be a full time caregiver and be bring in a big enough Income to use an almost $7000 Tax Break that is dedicated just for Caregivers… I guess those who are legitimately Caregivers can’t commit fraud and claim such a bonus. There is also money for Kids with Disabilities and it’s Doubling and on top of that there is just money for having kids. I understand helping mothers and families and how Canada must have children and have immigration to strength our economy in the long run… But why do you keep forgetting about Disabled people?

The list goes on and on and it’s just beyond crazy. Why are “people” with Disabilities treated inhumanely? Why is there such a gap on age or wealth when it comes to helping those with Disabilities. It makes no sense that we literally give breaks to those who have money and can afford to live way higher then the Poverty Line, but the second they are poor and don’t have money we throw them under the bus.

What is Worse is that both the Conservatives and Liberals on the Provincial level in Ontario have done nothing to better Disabilities when it comes to their Income. After Mike Harris Butchered the system and the Liberals took over for almost 15 years they had let $300 a Month vanish from Inflation. Yes $300 from inflation. Now that the Conservatives are in Power they are letting inflation eat away at it even faster then before and the Federal government has not done a thing to help out and yet they can start a program tomorrow if they wanted to.

The news should start reporting not what percent people get that year but the actual amount they will gain or lose based on inflation. So if the government gives 1.5% and inflation is 3.0% it should be reported that the government that year is removing 1.5% and then people will start realizing how crazy things are really getting.

It’s time for a change and I don’t think it should be tomorrow or even next year, but right now! There is enough delays on this and it’s been happening far too long. We are tired of our Government abusing those with Disabilities promising changes if you elect them, etc. Just do it and make the change and give people with disabilities some dignity now and not tomorrow.

ODSP Income Rules to Changes for 2020 and the Impact they will have.

As many of you might be aware in 2020 the new Conservative Income Rules Changes will be taking place. Doug Ford might be more cleaver then you think is a very evil way.

Photo by Nick Fewings

So what is happening in 2020 people on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can earn up to $6000 a year before the clawing back of the income. There is no monthly deductions anymore. So honestly it seems simple and in fact it sounds like you can get a lot more out of it.

You would be unfortunately quite wrong as now there is a 75% claw back vs 50%. Not only that but when you do the math like our friend Ron Malis had shared on his Blog, you find out quite fast your not getting a good deal at all.

My concern is even deeper and more evil plot by the Doug Ford Government. The way the system works is if you get more then $6,000 per year then they take it away the following Year. So if you earned say $12,000 in 2020 you would have a deduction from ODSP of $375 a month.

So imagine you could work in 2020 but ended up getting pretty sick and quitting your job at the end of the year. In 2021 you would end up getting $375 less a month. So with the current rates being $1,169 for a single person on ODSP with max shelter rates. Your new total each month for 2021 would be $794… There goes your apartment and now your homeless and they stop paying shelter where I assume now their deducting the $375 from your basic needs income.

Now your homeless assuming to at least earn your full Basic Needs at $672 a month to put aside and maybe be able to get an apartment again in the future. But instead it’s being clawed back by $375 so that your left with $297 a month and now your officially homeless where nowhere to go for the next 12 months.

Photo by John Moeses Bauan

It’s honestly a scary system that makes me suggest not going past $6000 a year to the point I would say quit your job the second your near that mark. Unless your fine at banking / savings then you can work past that marker, but it could be a dangerous task.

4 in 10 Canadians have less then $5000 in the bank so imagine what the bank accounts look like of someone on ODSP. Is it worth the risk? I would say 100% no it’s not worth the risk to ruin your life by becoming homeless. Many people on ODSP have both Physical and Mental Health problems. The last thing they need to worry is about budgeting the book for a year ahead when they have enough issues dealing with the month ahead.

Honestly Doug Ford is trying to encourage people to be able to go off ODSP but, this is not going to encourage anyone to go out and get a job. Instead more people are going to be afraid and scared as well as get more mental health issues like depression in the long run.

If I was Doug Ford I would personally bring the rates back down to 50% so people are not working for $3.50 cents an hour after earning a measly $6,000. In fact I would even encourage it to be lowered to 25% or let people reach closer to the poverty line before clawing back to give people a real fighting chance.

So in conclusion this system was broken and is still broken and the Doug Ford government claims to be fixing it and giving people the Dignity and Respect they Deserve. Maybe he should start sorting Nuts an Bolts for $3.75 an hour and tell us how his dignity is going.

Rejected by ADP & our OT for a Powered Scooter

We just had our Occupational Therapist (OT) visit us the other day. Juliet was quite nervous the day before because it was a male OT and she was worried that he would not take her seriously. Thankfully he was a very decent OT, but sadly our main concerns were not able to be dealt with.

Invacare Comet Scooter

We have wanted to get Juliet a Powered Scooter for many years now. We needed to see an OT for this, but sadly it was taking a long time due to a computer error the Doctor made and not realizing it till about 14 months later from the request.

Long story short Juliet has extremely limited movement around the home and outside. Juliet uses Forearm crutches that she can use some days less then 15 seconds before slamming her body against the wall and other days where she can use it for 10 minutes before fatigue or pain takes her out. On the really bad days Juliet ends up crawling on the floor to get to the bathroom, kitchen, etc.

Because of Juliet’s Pain and Fatigue that is caused while walking, it ends up killing off any and all adventures outside our home. To give you an idea since we moved, Juliet has never left the home in 16 months on her own and this means even into our backyard because of the fall risk. You can understand the reason in needing a Scooter now when you really start putting that into perspective.

Royale 4 Scooter

So our hope is that we can get a Powered Scooter to allow Juliet to be able to be more independent and give her the dignity she deserves and let her be able to leave the house and explore our backyard or even go on further adventures.

Before we go on, I just want to state when I say she is a fall risk that she ends up falling against the wall’s about a dozen times a day on her 4-5 trips a day out of her bedroom. Without walls she would be down for the count and even that does not always help her from taking a dive into the hard floor. So as you can see going outside in the wild without someone with her at all times to catch her is impossible and beyond dangerous.

After a very long pleasant chat with the OT, we ended up learning that we can’t be accepted for a Powered Scooter or a Powered Wheelchair because Juliet can use Forearm Crutches for 15 seconds and her disability seems to be discriminated against because of her pain tolerance.

Predator AT Scooter

Can you Imagine being a women in your 20’s who enjoys shopping, but instead bound at home or in the car because simply don’t have the energy and pain tolerance to be able to crutch around in the store?
That is what Juliet suffers from each and every day. I can push her in a cheap wheelchair but then we can’t actually buy anything as I can push her and a shopping cart at once… We know, we tried it more then once.

Now keep in mind the OT rejection is based on the criteria of Assistive Devices Program (ADP). So I decided I needed to learn what the criteria is and sadly it was quite a short requirement and pretty much said you needed to use it within the home itself daily.

Basic Mobility Requirements:
Funding is restricted to those Devices that meet the Applicant’s basic mobility requirements as defined by the ADP for funding purposes: The Device must be used on an ongoing daily basis. The required and intended use of the Device must be to provide mobility on an ongoing daily basis within the Applicant’s place of residence and to gain entry/exit from the Applicant’s place of residence. An Applicant’s place of residence may be a home, apartment building, longterm care home, chronic care facility etc.

Right off that bat Juliet has enough energy to normally be able to get around the home besides going into our basement. So instantly she is disqualified. Even if we lied and we are not those kind of people, so it’s not going to happen. We simply just don’t have the room / layout for a Powered Wheelchair let alone a Powered Scooter.

Non Eligible Mobility Requirements:
The Program does not provide funding for equipment used intermittently or as an alternative means of transportation (e.g. substitution for car, taxi or bus).
Funding is not provided for mobility devices, including components, used solely for:

  • Pain management
  • Travelling to and from destinations in the community
  • Recreation and social activities
  • Post-operative needs
  • Training, exercise or therapeutic purposes
  • Work
  • School
  • Sports
  • Feeding, sleeping and other non-mobility related activities.
    Source: health.gov.on.ca

So ignoring the fact this list pretty much removes every single usage known to person… Lets go ahead and take it one step at a time piece by piece and see what we can come up with.

Pain management:
This one has to be the biggest joke for those with Chronic Pain like Juliet. She has pain that is so bad that she can blackout if she does not fall and smash her head in first. I don’t like using words like discrimination but I feel this sadly fits this for those who suffer from Chronic Pain and who need devices to get around.

Travelling to and from destinations in the community:
So you can’t use it to go to your mailbox if it’s outside your home, like at a community mailbox. You can’t go to a local community event down the street and you also can’t use it to visit your neighbors right next door as it’s a destination in the community…

Recreation and social activities
I’m almost 100% sure the person who made this list up has never met a disabled person before or has some sort of grudge against them.
So let me get this right, someone with life time disability should not be attempting to get a Scooter / Wheelchair to engage in recreation and social activities?

Post-operative needs:
This one makes some sense but I do hope there is a temporary program that is offered to allow them to be more comfortable while recovering.

Training, exercise or therapeutic purposes
Training & Exercise I sort of understand as it falls back into sort of the Post OP temporary needs again.
The thing that concerns me is the therapeutic purposes… I assume a Lawyer did not write this nor a doctor… Lawyer knows how to use a dictionary and a Doctor knows that therapeutic also means a treatment and a therapy.
We are contacting an Occupational Therapist to be given a treatment to help Juliet to not crack her head on on the pavement.

Work, School, Sports
I can sort of understand the Work part as if you can work you can also save up and buy a Scooter honestly. You could use another form of transportation temporary like a City Buss, etc till you can buy yourself as Powered Scooter.
That being said School, and Sports seems a bit silly. Just think about Juliet’s conditions and then having to navigate a school all day. She can’t under her own power move a manual wheelchair either, so now someone in the school has to push her around? How much is this costing the tax payers for 12 years of education?

Feeding, sleeping and other non-mobility related activities.
I can understand this. Buying a Scooter or Wheelchair just to eat in and that is it would make a lot of sense of not being very cost practical for such a device.

What Juliet could be using the Scooter for, outside of the list above:

  • Getting around outside the home. Visiting me in the backyard garage or visiting me and taking part of activities around the yard.
  • Using the Scooter inside large buildings and Stores. Outside of her using it to travel to a store, she can be use it in the store to be able to interdependently buy things and actually pick up items and move them around. Right now she can’t hold items with her forearm crutches and she can’t push a shopping cart around either. Right now Juliet can’t partake in shopping at all besides walking beside me and even then she runs out of energy before we make it through the store and has to go sit in the car like an animal.
  • Mental Health. Not being able to leave the home and not having the dignity and independence takes a big toll on the human mind.
  • Doctors Office. Our doctor’s office is really big in size as it’s a mixed Hospital as well as the Clinic. Last time we went it took Juliet over 15 minutes to get from point a to point b where it took me about 30 seconds because of how much fatigue and pain she was suffering. She wanted to be independent so while I filled out paper work for her blood work she went to the office where it’s done and I found her almost at the office doors about 15 minutes later.

In the end the OT suggest to pretty much beg on social media for a used Powered Scooter. He did not say the word beg, but he said ask for a free one in your town social media like Facebook. He told us that the Batteries would be more likely dead and the costs would go up. The last thing we are going to do is beg for help in fact this only motivating me to spread awareness to the issues and concerns and share this with others and hopefully help fix the system in the long run.

The OT also suggested using charities, but they would only cover part the cost and we would have to pay for the rest. Downside is we are poor we just don’t have said money to cover the fraction of the cost right now, but it’s an option down the road if we must go that route. You also have to apply many many times to said charities to even be considered.

We thank you for taking the time to hear our story and thoughts on the situation. Honestly it’s quite heartbreaking to have such a modern society in 2019 reject someone the chance to be able to leave their home and be part of society more. Hopefully we can all do something about it in the long run and give people the dignity and independence they deserve and require.

Ontario Disability Support Program Rates – ODSP Rates

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in Ontario can be quite confusing when compared to programs like the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) in Alberta. Sadly their terminology is a bit out of date, but they do have 1 fixed income without the shelter variable portion changing like we do in Ontario.

ODSP Rates and the Ontario Child Benefit as of September / October 2018

So if you are on ODSP you are guaranteed $672 for Basic Needs as a single and $969 for a couple. Apparently spouses don’t need to eat as much.

Now when dealing with Shelter Amount, you will get a maximum of $497 for a Single Person or $781 as a couple. Keep in mind shelter is 100% an adjustable variable due to a few factors like rent and utilities.

Things that can be claimed to max out your Monthly Shelter:

  • Rent
  • Principal and interest on a mortgage or loan
  • Property Taxes
  • Hydro
  • Heat
  • Water / Sewage
  • Rental of Water Heaters
  • Home Insurance
  • Co-operative Housing and Co-operative Housing Mandatory Fee’s

We don’t expect there to be an increase for the 2019 / 2020 calendar year with the current Doug Ford Government. They had already slashed the increase in half last year and acted like it was some sort of amazing gift from the Conservative Government.

Hopefully this information can help those on Disability. The chart itself is from ISAC and heavily modified to give you less information like Ontario Works and such. If you need help or have questions then ask us night or day through our comments or via the contact section of the site.

Extreme Heat Warning from Our Government.

We found this to be a bit of irony today. Our government put out a warning that extreme heat can be dangerous especially for those who are elderly and some people with Disabilities.

Today in our home the Hallway was hitting around the 28c mark with about 60% humidity and Juliette’s Bedroom that she is mostly confined to was hitting around 30c with about 70% humidity. 30c and around 70% humidity brings the heat index to 35c.

We both suffer from the heat a lot but Juliette tends to suffer the most because of her Fibro and Asthma. The combination of the 2 causes her to be in more pain, fatigue, and causes a lot of breathing issues.

So the Irony here is we have tried to get some sort of funding from the Government to get a Central AC Unit and of course we were rejected. We might be able to get help for a Window unit but it causes a lot of facial pain and noise pain to Juliette because of the noises and the more extreme moving of air that you tend to get from Portable / Window unit AC’s.
Even if we had the money and could survive the window unit / portable unit our Power Grid can’t… Our home’s entire upstairs and a big chunk of the basement is connected to 1 single 15 amp breaker.

So our other option is maybe some sort of Stairlift to get Juliette into the basement… Well the bad news here is our Government does not provide such funding and tells us to use a charity and most charities don’t see it a vital need as she has access to a small tiny room upstairs, bathroom with a shower and a kitchen. These charities tend to be a once and a lifetime usage as well. So if we ever moved into say a forever home we would not get the support and help required.

Long story Short our government is telling us to do something that we and I could imagine 1000’s of others with disabilities can’t do a single thing about it as well.