Jane Dyson

Disability assistance restrictions eased

People on assistance can accept a gift or inheritance up to $100,000 without having their monthly payments cut

Parents, advocates for the disabled and even the opposition critic applauded the B.C. government’s move to increase financial independence for people receiving disability assistance payments.

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell has announced that effective Dec. 1, recipients will be able to receive financial gifts and inheritances of up to $100,000 without affecting their monthly payments. The current lifetime limit is $5,000 per person, after which assistance payments are reduced.

Stilwell said the change affects 96,000 people in B.C. who receive disability assistance.

“It’s available to all those individuals, and of course it would depend on their personal situations, their family support, friend support, whether they’re working or not working,” Stilwell said. “And those are definitely changes that we’re trying to encourage as well, to help individuals to get into the workforce, so they can create opportunities for themselves to earn and to save.”

The government previously raised the earned income exemption so people can earn up to $9,600 a year without reduction of their disability assistance, and has encouraged B.C. businesses to hire disabled people.

James Ho, a member of the minister’s council on employment and accessibility, called the gift and inheritance policy “a quantum leap forward” for disabled people like his son.

Kathy Bromley, a disability advocate whose daughter attends Simon Fraser University, struggled to control her emotions at a ceremony at the B.C. legislature announcing the change Nov. 5.

“Just because Shannon was born with a disability and needs help to brush her teeth and put her coat on … she needs to have a good reason to wake up every morning,” Bromley said.

NDP social development critic Michelle Mungall the change is “definitely good news” for those who can take advantage of it.

“I know with some of the families that I’ve been working with, people have come forward wanting to help them out, and they haven’t been able to because of the gift rule,” Mungall said.

“But at the end of the day, what we know is that the income assistance rates are very low, they are leaving people in poverty, and we see policies like the maternity leave clawback.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s goes online on May 31

Event held every year in Abbotsford now raising funds through virtual event

UPDATE: Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford has been located

Police report that Antonio Fernandez, 29, has been found safe and sound

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Man who broke into Abbotsford post office receives four more months in jail

Gary Patrick Richard sentenced for break-in and mail theft from April 20

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Man last seen walking out of Royal Columbian Hospital found dead

It is unclear how or why Gavin Deloes was able to leave the New Westminster hospital

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Most Read