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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – Peace River North MLA Dan Davies is urging the NDP government to bring back monthly COVID benefits for those in need of disability and income assistance.

“Despite John Horgan’s insistence that persons with disabilities would not see cuts to the vital supports they depend on, the grim reality of this poorly-planned benefit is now coming to the surface,” says Davies in a release on Wednesday.

The Opposition Critic for Social Development and Poverty Reduction mentioned it being the first day that persons with disabilities will see their COVID Income and Disability payments cut in half.

The recipients are now receiving $150 as opposed $300 a month. The assistance fund was first implemented in April 2020.

“Today — on the first day that thousands of individuals and families will see their income assistance cheques cut in half — these backlogs are going to affect the most vulnerable members of our communities the hardest.”

The NDP government pledged BC Recovery Benefit cheques would be sent to residents by Christmas to make up for the cuts, which some are still waiting for.

“New figures from the Ministry of Finance reveal that the applications of only 1.5 million of the 3.7 million eligible British Columbians have been approved. Of the 490,000 applications currently flagged for review, only 13 per cent have been approved as of mid-January,” said the release.

Davies believes it could take months for people with disabilities to see the one-time cheque, due to the backlog in applications.

“It is time for John Horgan to admit he made a mistake and fully reinstate the $300 monthly COVID Disability and Income Assistance supplement his NDP government took away from vulnerable people.”

Davies challenged the cuts in the Legislature in December.

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