Two years ago, social security and disability disability programs went down for about 10 weeks, prompting millions of Canadians to make emergency savings.
That’s when the federal government began to focus on addressing the problems.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program’s financial troubles began in August 2017 when the Social Security Administration announced that the Social Insurance Program would no longer be able to pay benefits on an actuarially sound basis.
The program is supposed to cover people with disabilities and their families.
The shortfall in payments has resulted in the largest budget shortfall in Canadian history.
The $1.2-billion shortfall was one of the biggest in Canadian health care history.
At the time, the government estimated that disability payments would cost taxpayers about $6.7 billion in 2018-19.
It took a while to fix the problems but now, the gap has been closed.
The federal government is now trying to figure out what happened, but it has a few ideas.
First, the federal Liberals have promised to improve the disability system, including hiring more people to help fix problems.
The government says it will use a combination of hiring more employees, improving the technology that helps the program keep track of payments and making it easier to appeal a decision.
“There is no question we need to improve our disability payments system,” Liberal MP Lisa Raitt said in an interview with CBC News.
“This is a major problem and the Liberals have committed to fixing it.”
The Liberals say they will also spend $1 billion over the next five years to create a “national disability strategy” to help provinces and territories address the shortfall.
In a statement, the Liberals said they plan to create an “independent national disability plan” to ensure that provinces and territory have “the tools to meet their obligations” to the federal disability payments.
“The Liberal Party will work with the provinces and Territories to create this national plan to ensure their obligations are met, including the creation of a national disability strategy,” the statement said.
The Conservatives say the Liberals’ plans will only help the disability program, not the economy.
“They are going to put billions of dollars of taxpayer money to the service of people with disability, and they’re going to be doing it to make the people of this country poorer,” Conservative MP Michael Chong told CBC News last month.
The Liberals have said they will make sure the disability payments are not used to support companies like oil and gas companies, where workers often have disability benefits.
“We want to make sure that people with those benefits are able to work, and if we don’t have those jobs, they’re not going to have the kind of income they need to live their lives,” Liberal leader Andrew Scheer said last month, adding that he supports “anybody that wants to work.”
The government says that is not true.
“The government has committed to ensure disability payments aren’t used to pay for companies that do business with Canadians with disabilities,” spokeswoman Rachelle Smith said in a statement.
“We’ve also said that the Liberal Party won’t support the use of disability benefits to fund companies that work to profit from people with a disability.”
The Liberal government has also proposed that companies with disabilities be allowed to pay disability benefits for their employees with a government-approved disability benefit plan, something the Conservatives have said is not in the government’s interest.
The Tories are also calling for more financial accountability of disability payments, with a new system for the government to track payments and provide an independent review.
The government is also reviewing the current system of disability insurance and claims, to see if it is working to provide enough money to cover everyone.