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Down but Not Out: Reforming Social Assistance Rules that Punish the Poor for Saving

Listed author(s):
  • John Stapleton

    (St. Christopher House)

Registered author(s):

    Reform is required for social program rules that prevent the poor from saving in Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), according to this study. The author says that encouraging asset accumulation, even in small amounts, is crucial in helping to lift people out of poverty. Yet most Canadian welfare, disability and social service programs deny or cancel benefits if applicants or recipients place a modest level of savings in an RRSP or TFSA. Barring a province-led effort at reform, says Stapleton, the federal government should take the lead by calling on provinces and territories to exempt meaningful RRSP and TFSA amounts from their welfare asset rules, leaving individual jurisdictions to decide the appropriate levels.

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    Paper provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its series e-briefs with number 93.

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    Length: 6 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2010
    Publication status: Published on the C.D. Howe Institute website, March 2010
    Handle: RePEc:cdh:ebrief:93
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