Asset value limits increase for PWD

The BC Government announced that beginning December 1, 2015 persons with disabilities who are receiving income assistance will be able to hold more assets without losing their income assistance eligibility. Currently, a person with a disability who is receiving government assistance is allowed to have up to $5,000 in assets and couples $10,000 (a residence and one vehicle among certain other assets are exempted in this calculation). As of December 1st the limits will be $100,000 and $200,000 respectively. The practical effect of this change means that discretionary trusts no longer need to be set up if a person with a disability is going to receive an inheritance or an award for damages in a personal injury action of significant value. This allows persons with disabilities to control their money and not leave it in the hands of a trustee of a discretionary trust – as it should be. There are other positive changes coming as well, including elimination of caps on trust payments (currently $8,000 per year) and cash gifts. These changes are a good start but more needs to be done if the government truly wants to help persons with disabilities lead fuller and more secure lives.

The BC Government announcement can be found at http://ow.ly/Um1ae.