New basic income program: people in need receive more generous benefits

About 84,000 welfare recipients will receive more generous welfare benefits beginning January 1, 2023, thanks to the Quebec government’s new Basic Income Program (BRP).

It was the Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, who announced this in a press release on Friday morning.

It is a “strong gesture of solidarity” and “significant social progress”, says Jean Boulet.

“With [ce nouveau programme]Not only are we helping to promote the participation in social and economic life of people with severe employment limitations, particularly people with disabilities, but we are responding to one of our key priorities, which is to make Québec ever fairer and fairer,” said the minister.

The basic income program is aimed at people with significant limitations in gainful employment, such as mental disorders, intellectual disabilities, chronic diseases.

Those people who currently receive benefits from the social solidarity program will be automatically redirected to the new program, which will allow them to receive up to 40% higher amounts.

In terms of special needs support, they will also continue to have access to special benefits (eyeglasses, dental care, transportation, etc.) PRB represents a total investment of US$1.6 billion for the period 2019-2023. For the next five years will be estimated the cost of PRB at $374.4 million.

While it’s a step in the right direction, this new program doesn’t go far enough as it won’t allow all welfare recipients to meet their basic needs, believes Serge Petitclerc, spokesman for the Collectif pour un Quebec without poverty.

“We’re still a long way from that,” he said. The majority of welfare recipients will still have to live on an income that barely covers half of their basic needs. There is simply no justification for maintaining such an unfair and unjust welfare system.”

However, the aim of this program should be to give people a disposable income that is at least equivalent to the basket of goods, recalls Mr. Petitclerc.

“While the disposable income of those eligible for the program should be approximately $20,000 per year in 2023, the Quebec government estimates that its latest budget will require approximately $22,500 to meet basic needs in Quebec cover. So yes, people will get more, but still not enough to meet their basic needs.”

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