Community Update: Province Exempts EI Maternity and Parental Benefits for PWD and Income Assistance Recipients

 

Dear Community Partner,

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI) has made some changes which, starting on October 1st, will impact some PWD and income assistance recipients. Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits and EI benefits for parents caring for critically ill children will now be exempt. This means that these benefits will not be deducted from their assistance cheques.

The Province has posted a news release about this change on its website: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016SDSI0060-001817. DABC sees this as a positive change, which will benefit families across BC.

If you have any questions about the information in this community update, please contact our Advocacy Access department at 604-872-1278 (toll-free: 1-800-663-1278), or email feedback@disabilityalliancebc.org.

Community Update: New Reporting Process Allows Easier Return to Disability Assistance After Exceeding AEE Limit

Dear Community Partner,

On September 1st the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI) will introduce a new procedure which will make it easier for people receiving disability assistance who exceed their Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE) limit to return to assistance. Recipients who wish to do so can continue to submit a monthly report slip to MSDSI even after they reach their AEE limit and cease to be eligible for assistance. Once the AEE limit is renewed the following January or if a person’s earned income falls below their disability assistance rate during the year then disability assistance can be automatically re-instated.

Monthly reports are due by the 5th day of the following month that income is received (e.g. income received in May should be reported by June 5th). Monthly reports can be completed online using My Self Serve or submitted to a Ministry office using the Monthly Report form (HR0081).  People who choose not to report income on a monthly basis after they exceed the AEE limit keep their disability designation and will not need to reapply for the designation using the 28 page PWD designation application.  However, they will need to submit a re-application for assistance which assesses financial eligibility if they wish to return to disability assistance.

Annual Earnings Exemption Refresher

The AEE allows people on disability assistance to receive earned income (usually this means income received in exchange for work or the provision of a service) without a reduction to their disability assistance. A person’s AEE limit is the amount of earned income they can receive during the year without a reduction of disability assistance. Any earned income received after a person exceeds their AEE limit is deducted dollar for dollar from their disability assistance. The maximum AEE limit for a single person is $9600 per year (pro-rated for the number of months a person is receiving disability assistance in the year).

The AEE limit is renewed every January which, due to the MSDSI reporting system, allows people who are otherwise eligible for disability assistance to begin receiving assistance again in February for the March benefit month. The AEE does not apply to other sources of income (e.g. Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits, Employment Insurance, Old Age Security), which are generally deducted dollar for dollar from disability assistance unless there is a specific exemption.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact Advocacy Access Program Director Sam Turcott at 604-872-1278 or 1-800-663-1278.

 

Community Update: Changes to PWD application process

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Dear Community Partner,

Beginning September 2016, new measures will be introduced which will make it easier for some people to apply for the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation:

Streamlined Application Process for Prescribed Classes

Individuals enrolled in the following programs:

–      BC Pharma Care Plan P (Palliative Care Benefits);

–      Ministry of Children and Family Development At Home Program;

–      Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) Programs; and

–      Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits;

Will be able to apply for the PWD designation using a 2 page form instead of the current 28 page application.  The process for applicants will be as follows:

–      Individuals applying for the PWD designation as a member of a prescribed class will self-identify as belonging to a prescribed class during the Self-Serve Assessment and Application;

–      The applicant will then proceed through the intake process and as part of the intake package of documents, they will be given the PWD Designation – Prescribed Class Application to complete in lieu of the 28 page PWD application;

–      The applicant will select the applicable prescribed class and be required to provide the Ministry with the consent to contact the specified agency to verify eligibility;

–      Upon confirmation of eligibility for PWD designation under a prescribed class the Ministry will send the individual an approval letter

–      If the applicant is found to be ineligible for PWD designation under a prescribed class the applicant will have the right to request a reconsideration of the decision or they may choose to submit a standard PWD application

Individuals applying for the PWD designation who do not fall within one of the prescribed classes will still be required to complete a standard 28 page PWD application.

New Role for Nurse Practitioners in the PWD Application Process

In addition, nurse practitioners will be allowed to complete section 2 of the PWD Designation Application, which previously could only be completed by a medical doctor.  Nurses already have the authority to complete section 3 of the PWD Designation Application and this change will allow them to assist their patients with either or both sections of the application.

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If you have any questions about this information, please contact Advocacy Access Program Director Sam Turcott at 604-872-1278 or 1-800-663-1278.