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.”

 

Just Posted

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Woman raising funds to save historic Rossland piano

Rare Steinway piano was in Miners Hall for a century, but was headed to the dump

West Kootenay opinion sought on health care issues

Rural Evidence Review getting strong response to survey call-out

By-election date set for Nakusp village council

Voters will be turning out to choose a replacement for Janis Neufeld

NSS Track team members headed to provincials

Nakusp Secondary School students do well at track meet

Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

Most Read