Basic income is not just about work, it’s about health - The Globe and Mail
Mr. Segal answers some of those questions – at least for the pilot project and, in his 101-page report, sets out some all-important parameters for testing the concept. He recommends that the #basic_income be set at a minimum of $1,320 a month (plus an additional $500 if the recipient has a disability), non-taxable and that it replace two large programs, Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. Those two cornerstone social-welfare programs cost the Ontario treasury about $9-billion a year. That’s because almost 16 per cent of Ontarians between the ages of 18 and 64 live in poverty.
(...) But basic income is not just an employment issue, it’s about health. Will a guaranteed income improve the health of the poor or lessen use of the health-care system? To answer these questions, you need pretty sophisticated research and it has to be done over a long period – and Mr. Segal recommends a minimum of three years.
There are also some really important and thoughtful cautions in the report. A “Big Bang” approach, in which you replace all social supports with a single cheque, is not the way to go. While a basic income will likely be helpful, it does not obviate the need for housing support, job training, education, subsidies for prescription drugs and so on.