While the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and trusts provide families with savings tools for the future, families still encounter barriers in assisting their relatives with disabilities in the present.
In most provinces, providing money to a family member on provincial disability benefits is considered unearned income and will be deducted from their disability assistance payments.
In BC, family contributions are considered unearned income and can be deducted dollar for dollar from disability assistance payments. There is a significant gap between what they receive ($906/month) and the cost of living. Families want to help their loved one but are not permitted. The result is that families provide assistance “under the table” and are fearful of discovery. A policy shift that legitimizes, facilitates and encourages family assistance acknowledges the host of resources that families offer. The deep partnership between government and families can be recognized openly.
PLAN families strongly recommend:
Financial and in-kind contributions from family members added to the list of exempt income and assets in provincial disability legislation.
This policy shift would:
- Have broad societal support
- Promote a more caring society
- Encourage families to assist relatives with disabilities
- Eliminate incentives to break the rules