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Pandemic-related disability support to cost feds $792 million, PBO says

Last Updated Aug 26, 2020 at 7:46 am PDT

Storm clouds pass by the Peace tower and Parliament hill Tuesday August 18, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

One-time payment to people with disabilities amid COVID-19 to cost $792 million: PBO

Majority of $792 million will go to 1.67 million people in payments of up to $600

Financial aid is aimed at offsetting extra costs linked to COVID-19 pandemic, Liberals say

OTTAWA — The parliamentary budget office says a one-time payment to people with disabilities this fall will cost the federal treasury $792 million.

The majority of that amount will go to about 1.67 million people in payments of up to $600, which the Liberals say are aimed at offsetting any extra costs linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total cost should hit federal books this year, but the budget office warns there may be potential fiscal impacts in subsequent years.

The first legislative push to provide the special payments failed in June when the minority Liberal government couldn’t gain opposition support for a wider spending bill.

A few weeks later, a compromise was struck whereby the Liberals expanded eligibility for the payments to also include veterans.

Payments will max out at $600, drop to $300 for any recipients who receive old age security benefits, and fall to $100 for low-income seniors who receive OAS and the guaranteed income supplement.