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Canada Disability Benefit won't lift 'hundreds of thousands' out of poverty, new numbers confirm

The new Canada Disability Benefit will lift about 25,000 adults out of poverty, according to new numbers released by the federal government — a figure well short of the hundreds of thousands the government said the benefit would help when it introduced the legislation in 2022.

"We have an opportunity in the House to bring about a once-in-a-generation change and lift hundreds of thousands of working-age Canadians with disabilities out of poverty," Carla Qualtrough, then the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion, told the House of Commons on September 21, 2022.

The Liberals passed Bill C-22 in June 2023, creating a new federal benefits program to lift people out of poverty by topping up provincial supports. Payments will begin rolling out in July 2025. The maximum benefit for low-income Canadians with disabilities will be $200 monthly.

While 1.6 million Canadians with disabilities live below the poverty line, April's federal budget indicated only 600,000 would be eligible for the new benefit.

The government's numbers show that by 2028, the benefit "will lift 25,000 working-age persons with disabilities, and 15,000 of their family members, out of poverty each year."

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