Today, disability rights advocates and allies are launching a letter writing campaign website, axethehip.ca, to abolish the Household Income Policy. The campaign asks people to write to Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch and demand the end of the Household Income Policy for people on social assistance.
“I have been battling the household income policy for many years. I am engaged and cannot get married because of this policy,” said Kaitlyn Layden, a disability rights advocate and one of the organizers behind the campaign to axe the Household Income Policy.
“Able-bodied people take things like getting married and other milestones for granted. I am just like everyone else. I shouldn’t have to fight this hard for equality,” said Layden.
The letter states, “We consider the Household Income Policy to be unjust, discriminatory, needless, costly, outdated and indefensible. It can require social assistance recipients in New Brunswick to live away from their spouses, family, friends, and support networks,” states the letter.” Read the full letter here: axethehip.ca.
“It is essential that the government of New Brunswick axe the Household Income Policy so that people accessing social assistance can live with greater autonomy. This policy, as it is written, can frustrate recipients’ ability to create the family life they desire, which is egregious,” says Tobin Haley, a critical disabilities scholar and organizer with the New Brunswick Coalition for Tenants Rights.
The Common Front for Social Justice, the province’s largest anti-poverty network, also supports the end of the Household Income Policy as well as higher social assistance rates.
“The purpose of social assistance is to provide necessities for those who, for whatever reason, are in need. This policy punishes recipients for seeking out living arrangements that work for them, for trying to have a family life. The Household Income Policy needs to be axed immediately,” says Abram Lutes, provincial coordinator of the Common Front.
“I want to change the policy for all of New Brunswick, not just myself,” said Layden.
Tracy Glynn is a writer and editor with the NB Media Co-op.