I’m a 48 year old female who was on a combination of ODSP and CPP-Disability income for over a decade. For the past two years, have been recieving only CPP-Disability pension and working 10 hours a week. During a review of CPP-Disability eligibility it was noted I was struggling to maintain the hours I was currently working.
This is important to understand. Even at my best, I need income supports. The supports I get through CPP-Disability are inadequate for the little amount of hours that I do.
The Basic Income Pilot was a chance for me to play catch up. Lengthy amounts of time on Social Assistance means debt. It’s not that I wanted something and I put it on a credit card debt. It’s emergency items for my disability or my home. It replaces things that break, wear down or just don’t fit anymore. Like winter boots. Or a mattress.
The $6000 disability portion of BI is the only part I receive.
That $500 a month has meant that an unexpected expense comes up I can pay it and not, quite literally, go hungry or further into debt. Going hungry and being diabetic is a bad combination and a costly one for the medical system.
This pilot meant I could leave the never ending cycle of debt. My debt load is pretty humble compared to the Ontario average but takes up a critical portion of my almost negligible disposable income.
That little bit of money has meant, for the first time in a long time, there was choice. That I could finish repairs on my condo and be ready to downsize from my small apartment to a smaller one. Or buy a duplex and live in one unit and rent out there other, which is difficult under ODSP rules but permissible with CPP-D and BI.
Living under ODSP rules meant I could not just sell my home and keep the money without losing medical supports (health benefits) or locking the money away until retirement. Or losing my home due to debt and/or insufficient income, would mean entering the high priced rental market which would mean a higher monthly housing cost.
I feels like I can never win.
Running and running but never catching up.