Long-awaited one-time disability assistance will be distributed on Friday

The federal government’s promised one-time grant payment for Canadians with disabilities struggling with the pandemic will be distributed this Friday after months of delays.

The government predicts nearly 1.6 million Canadians will receive tax-free payments of up to $600, which they say will help offset additional costs incurred over the past few months such as grocery deliveries, travel, medication and personal protective equipment.

To receive assistance, applicants must have an existing and valid Disability Tax Credit (DTC) certificate by the 25th September filing deadline or be a beneficiary of the Retirement Plan.

Canada’s Disability Grant, Quebec Retirement Program’s Disability Benefit, and or one of the disability programs under Canada Veterans Affairs as of 1 July.

Last Friday, the Liberal Party extended this deadline to apply for DTC aid until December 31 to expand on those who qualify. Even so, some critics are concerned about reach.

Responding to critics, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said that the government has worked “tirelessly” to develop a new system to distribute the one-time payment.

“We know that COVID-19 has highlighted long-standing challenges as it relates to disability inclusion, which is why we’ve committed in the Speech from the Throne to bring forward a Disability Inclusion Plan with a better process to determine eligibility for Government disability programs and benefits,” said Minister Qualtrough.

“I will continue to work for a disability inclusive Canada where policies, programs and services respond to the needs of Canadians with disabilities.”

The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the program will spend $792 million in its first year.

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