Human rights, basic needs

By Marcia Carroll, P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities and

Leo Garland, P.E.I. People First

The Guardian

A basic income guarantee (B.I.G.) would transform the current social welfare system and policies to a system based on human rights and basic needs. Why is basic income especially important for people with disabilities?

A basic income guarantee would be a move away from determining a person’s value based on their work. It would eliminate the discriminatory attitude that people with disabilities are takers, not contributors, and challenge the harmful idea that wealth is for the blessed.

Disability and poverty are interlocking. Today, 70 per cent of people born with a moderate to severe disability will live their whole lives in poverty. The current social assistance system designed to support impoverished people is not working, and it is discriminatory in its effects. The statistics are astonishing: two-thirds of households in which social assistance is the main source of income are headed by people with disabilities, and almost three-fifths of persons with disabilities are unemployed or under-employed. The vast majority of Human Rights challenges on P.E.I. are related to disability and work.

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