Jim Flaherty

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announces changes to Old Age Security

Seen through aging eyes, Jim Flaherty’s budget speech, (delivered Thursday in the House of Commons), raises a number of alarm bells. While it seems fairly favourable to those with long-term disabilities, (his Economic Action Plan 2012 makes the claim that “the federal government is following through on its commitment to review the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to ensure that RDSPs are meeting the needs of Canadians with severe disabilities and their families”), it may have a nasty kick back for those about to retire.

For the record, there are two types of RDSPs:

Canada Disability Savings Grant – The Government deposits matching grants of up to 300% into your RDSP to help you save.

Canada Disability Savings Bond – The Government deposits $1,000 a year from the Government into the RDSPs (for low to modest-income Canadians).

Read more about RDSPs…

Concealing the Truth?

Concealed in this good hype from the budget is the announcement that the retirement age is being raised from 65 to 67 years. While this may appear to have nothing to do with long-term disabilities, it assumes that Canadians retire out of choice. Many don’t. Many Canadians are forced into early retirement by their disabilities.

The Winnipeg Sun reports, “It is well documented that Canadians with disabilities disproportionately live in poverty when compared to the general population”.

NDP Official Opposition Critic on Finance, Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster), was less sanguine when he said, “Instead of choosing flawed F-35s, costly mega-prisons while the crime rate is going down, and breaking their electoral promise with reckless and unnecessary cuts to OAS, the Harper government should focus instead on the real priorities of Canadian families and work to improve public services, develop a jobs plan, strengthen pensions, and make life a little more affordable”.

Get the Information You Need

Whichever side of the political divide you’re on, even with an RDSG or RDSP, if you have a long-term disability will you be covered until your Old Age Security (OAS) comes into affect? A lawyer conversant in disability claim law can help you understand these complexities and ultimately help you retire with fewer worries.

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