Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Christine's story shows the hurtful impact of BC's discriminatory 'spousal cap' policy
November 1st, 2021
In this series British Columbians share how BC's 'spousal cap', which makes love and survival incompatible for persons with disabilities, is impacting their life.
In this entry, Christine tells her story.
Read Entry 1: It's Marriage OR Survival; not both for BC's PWDs
Read Entry 3: "Was it worth it to almost cost someone's life?"
Read Entry 4: A loving partner isn't an option: A statement
I’ve struggled with my disabilities for many years now and I've had to rely on others for help, especially with day to day tasks. When I need to rely on others, it reminds me that I've lost some independence due to my disabilities.
When I was accepted for PWD, I was relieved that I would get some financial independence back and feel a little bit more at peace now that I could afford to pay my own bills, my groceries, my prescriptions I need daily, etc.
That was until I found out that I would be cut off from PWD payment after a year of living with my common law partner and will continue to lose out due to the “spousal cap”.
We looked more into the discriminatory restriction the Ministry has in place for those who choose to love and we were absolutely mind blown that the Ministry has full control over your love life.
We were absolutely mind blown that the Ministry has full control over your love life
Basically, if I choose a basic human right to experience love, the Ministry then punishes us by ripping away the one thing that made me feel I had some independence back, my income.
If I choose a basic human right to experience love, the Ministry then punishes us
This has only now added stress, anxiety, and fear to all my pre existing disabilities. I didn’t choose to become disabled and to find someone who loves and accepts me for who I am, the Ministry then slaps me in the face by taking away my income.
Now, I again have to rely on my partner, mind you, in today’s day and age living in BC is more expensive than ever, my partner has to worry about finically providing for both of us.
It's absolutely wrong of the Ministry to place this responsibility on my partner; it adds stress to the relationship and makes me feel guilty for my disabilities, and it amounts to discrimination over a basic human right to love.
It is absolutely wrong...to place this responsibility on my partner. It adds stress to the relationship and makes me feel guilty for my disabilities
I worry every day about how I'll be able to afford to survive because my income has been cut and I shouldn't have to put that stress on my partner to help.
I, like everyone else, deserve to experience love and not face the consequences of losing my income because of a basic human right choice.
My main questions to the Ministry are: if a non-disabled couple can bring home 2 incomes without any restrictions, why is a couple who has one or both partners disabled limited to how much income they can bring home?
If a non-disabled couple can bring home 2 incomes without any restrictions, why is a couple who has 1 or both partners disabled limited?
Why are BC’s disabled being punished and discriminated against because we choose to pursue a relationship and experience love? Why is it okay to take away independence from the disabled (some already suffering from self independence loss due to their disability)?
I’m tired of waking up everyday, my mind and body full of anxiety, stress, fear and guilt because the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has a discriminatory restriction in place for a basic human right to love and has ripped away the independence of BC’s disabled.
I feel like I was 10 steps forward in life when I had the independence of affording my own needs and necessities but due to the discrimination from our Ministry, I feel like I'm 20 steps backwards.
It’s time for a change, and it needs to happen now.
To show your support for ending BC's spousal cap policy, sign our petition, share this story, or send us your own story!
Spencer van Vloten is the editor of BC Disability. To get in touch, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!