Yukon NDP leader Kate White speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 3, 2019. The party has written a letter to the Department of Health and Social Services regarding an inconsistency in the allocation of additional disability support. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

NDP criticises allocation model for YG’s additional funding for people with disabilities

NDP says funding should be per client, not per family

The Yukon NDP has written a letter to the Department of Health and Social Services regarding an inconsistency in the allocation of additional disability support.

The reported inconsistency is regarding the Yukon government’s announcement of providing $400 to disability services clients and $250 to eligible families, which Premier Sandy Silver announced on June 2 at a COVID-19 update.

“An additional $400 per month will be available to disability services clients and also $250 will be available to approved home caregivers per month as well,” Silver said at the update.

Kate White, the NDP leader, spoke with the News on June 9 and said a family reported the inconsistency to the NDP after they had looked into this government program and felt they were misled by the initial announcement. White said the family was told that all payments through this program would be $400 per family, and the family was under the impression it would be $400 per client.

White felt that allocating the funds per family will lead to inequality, as a family with one child getting the benefit will end up with more money per child than a family who has more than one child needing this support.

“How come one kid deserves less support than another?” White asked.

She added this is an example of why the opposition should be allowed to have some oversight on government programs.

“This is an example of, they made a program announcement and they didn’t look at the full ramifications or how it would roll out and it won’t benefit everyone,” White said.

She said she feels the government should be making sure every client gets the same support. She said families need this money for things like respite care.

“What I would like to see is fairness,” White said.

Neither White nor the NDP had received a response from the territorial government at the time of the interview.

Clarissa Wall, a health and social services spokesperson, provided a response to the NDP’s letter.

She confirmed that eligible families can get between the $250 and $400 per month to help support a child with disability.

“The funding is provided per family and intended to help pay for services such as respite care, childcare or housekeeping, or for specialized equipment or supplies,” Wall said. “This funding is meant to provide additional support for families supporting children, youth or an adult with a disability.”

She added that families will still get their usual funding from disability services. If more is needed, she recommended that families contact disability services to explore options. She added that families could be eligible for additional assistance from the territory or the federal government.

The government’s response did not address the wording of the initial announcement.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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