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British Columbia

21 February, 2024

DWP Newsletter: January 2024

This month we are proud to feature our partnering organization, Community Living Society!
The Community Living Society (CLS) believes that all people have the ability and the right to fully participate in, and contribute to, their communities. To that end, CLS has committed itself to working with individuals with disability and their families to design the type and amount of support needed to help them increase their independence and realize their dreams. The CLS supports are intended to complement – not replace – the natural supports provided by family, friends and the community. Our CLS support team acts as a bridge for people with disability to make new friends, learn the skills needed to get meaningful work, live more independently and achieve personal goals. Founded in the late 1970s by family members of children with disability, the CLS combines the values, leadership and advocacy of our past, with innovative and individual approaches to providing residential and community inclusion support services. We are funded by Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) and the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program through the Fraser Health Authority. All individuals supported at the CLS must be eligible for services through one of these two funders.
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Disability Story of the Month:

Community, Accessibility, and Artistic Freedom: Creating Space for Artists on PWD in BCWritten by Taryn Goodwin 

It was back in 2013 when a friend recommended that I seek assistance from Disability Alliance BC to complete my PWD (Persons With Disability) application. I was initially nervous about the process, fearing that I might be accused of not being eligible to apply since I was now able to walk up their staircase. However, my experience with the BC Alliance was supportive, offering a glimmer of hope in the complex world of disability applications. I vividly remember sitting across from a service provider, answering questions she recorded to help fill out my PWD benefits application. An application would then be reviewed, completed, and signed by my doctor as the official submission. Yet, despite the support I received that day, the process took two years to complete.
During that time I remember feeling deeply confronted with the complexities of disability applications. Eligibility often required individuals, like myself, to depict their worst days as their everyday experience, a demand that felt disingenuous and uncomfortable. I realized that policy frameworks were designed for absolutes, leaving no room for the nuances of our full, bright and relational lived experiences. From bureaucratic hurdles, medical trauma, the emotional and financial toll of years of waiting, and reliance on external validation further compounded the challenges of the application process. Applying for PWD is exhausting work, with no guaranteed outcome.  I fortunately have been on PWD since 2015. However, that very same day I got my PWD acceptance letter, I also received my first artist grant from the Canada Council for the Arts as a professional artist.  Thus, for almost 10 years, I’ve grappled with the intricate relationship between being a working artist and receiving disability benefits. The fear of financial clawbacks and the limitations imposed by income thresholds created a sense of insecurity, constraining my ability to fully embrace my creative pursuits. The fear of earning over $15,000, triggering income reductions, has kept me cautious and limited in my professional endeavours, scared of losing a source of secure monthly income or pursuing artist grants. As a working artist, navigating the delicate balance between creative pursuits and disability benefits has been a source of anxiety. read more.
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