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Government Launches Review of the Registered Disability Savings Plan

  • Posted on November 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm

On Oct 23rd 2011 the Honorable Jim Flaherty announced a Federal review of the RDSP program. In this they have asked for people to comment on it. Below is the email I sent with regards to the RDSP review.

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I am a family member of persons on Ontario Disability. First let me state that I think the RDSP is a great idea but I do and have seen the following issues;

1. A lot of people on disability do not have enough ID for banks to even open an account (seen this with BMO and my cousin). My cousin does not have a drivers license (can’t), does not have a passport, and still has the red/white ohip card. She does not have any form of “legal” photo ID. This needs to be addressed on many government levels. A nationwide government issues photo disability ID needs to be developed.

2. The vast majority of people on disability are afraid of losing or having their provincially provided disability cut for having the RDSP. Even though this would not happen, the government needs to understand one very crucial thing. The workers/staff of things like ODSP go out of their way to make people on disability afraid of being cut-off. This is not an exaggeration as I have seen this first hand with several family members and friends on ODSP. I know my cousin is very scared of opening an RDSP as the prospect of losing her ODSP frightens her to death.

3. People on ODSP for example don’t have money to contribute to RDSP and here is why. For people like my family living in Toronto – (courtesy CHMC Rental Market Reports – 2010)
Average Rent in Toronto
Bachelor Apt – $758/mth
1 Bdrm Apt – $926/mth
ODSP benefits for a single person: $930/month – That includes $464 for shelter.
**As of Jan 2012, my cousins rent for a 1 Bdrm is going up to $824/mth they say due to higher hydro costs etc… YET her ODSP does not increase to cover this. How can that be fair or right?

As you can see people on disability don’t even have enough money to get by each month. This is a MAJOR issue that needs Government attention.

Even though the RDSP is a wonderful thing to have, a lot of people on disability can’t and won’t take advantage of it for several reasons. Disability as a whole needs to be addressed as a National issue. I would request that the Honorable Jim Flaherty look at making Disability a Federal issue to be dealt with and removed from the Provinces. Each province deals with disability differently while the persons in Canada with disability are no different province to province. Our great Country is a Country that prides itself on helping other countries with their impoverished, yet we ignore our own that desperately need our help. Our disabled did not ask to be disabled nor do they wish to be disabled, yet we treat them like some blithe on our system. Unlike Welfare recipients our disabled have no choice BUT to be on assistance as most cannot work anywhere. I would like to put a challenge to our leaders – to ensure all people on disability in all provinces get at the very least the same amount of money as a Minimum Wage 35.5hr/wk worker gets and fix their health care and special diets/needs allowances. Is our government aware that because someone is on disability they are not entitled to the same health care as everyone else? This is backed up in facts, for example, certain meds that would help people in my family lead a more normal life they cannot get because ODSP refuses to cover it.

I applaud Mr. Flaherty for what he is trying to achieve, but I feel there are some glaring fundamental issues that need to be addressed before the RDSP program can work properly.

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