The B.C. government has announced a new monthly supplement for persons with disabilities.

The supplement is meant for transportation needs and will be in the form of a bus pass, or $52 for other transportation needs such as HandyDART if the recipient does not live where there is public buses.

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

The passes will be available January 1st, 2018.

“People have shared their concerns over changes made to the B.C. Bus Pass for people with disabilities, and fixing this has been a priority for our government…” says Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Since being appointed to the position of Minister, I probably have heard from more people about the bus pass than about any other particular issue.”

The supplement responds to request made by the disability community to fix changes made to transportation supports for people on disability assistance.

Government committed to addressing their concerns and consulted with stakeholders on how to approach the situation.

“Over the last two months, I have reached out to stakeholders and asked for their advice on the approach we should take to resolve this issue.

“The transportation supplement is a result of those conversations.” Simpson says.

People who have the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation will be eligible for the supplement without the need to apply.

At any point, the person receiving the bus pass can cancel it and opt to take the $52 to meet their transportation needs; and conversely, can at any point apply for the B.C. Bus Pass if that would suit their needs better.

The B.C. Bus Pass can be used in both TransLink and BC Transit areas.

“The additional $52, on top of the recently implemented rate increase, and increase to the annualized earnings exemption are very encouraging first steps from B.C.’s new provincial government,” explains Jane Dyson, executive director for Disability Alliance BC. ” We appreciate the fact that the minister consulted and listened to stakeholders in designing the new supplement and look forward to working with his ministry to develop more poverty-reduction initiatives.”

The transportation supplement will be on monthly assistance payments, starting with the December 20th, 2017 payment.

It is expected to cost the government approximately $70 million annually.

To learn more about the B.C. Bus Pass Program, click here.