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

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Survey suggests 83 per cent of Surreyites ‘favour a referendum’ on policing transition

Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the National Police Federation

Racist graffiti sparks Cloverdale man to renew calls for City to clean up street

Hate message the latest garbage dumped at the end of 176th Street

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

Surrey RCMP looking for missing 21-year-old

Police say Kenny Tran was last seen at around 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

New Alberta forward joins Vancouver Giants’ ranks

new left-handed 18-year-old is a familiar face to Giants head coach Michael Dyck

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

Most Read