This post covers the PWD cheque dates and payment dates for 2021, disability assistance amounts, the eligibility and how to apply for it.
The provincial government of British Columbia provides disability support to residents that hae been designed “Person with Disability“
Through the social assistance program, eligible BC residents receive help through financial assistance, general and health supplements, and employment assistance.
Read on to learn about the available benefits and how much you can expect to receive as PWD payments monthly.
PWD Payment Dates 2021
The Government of British Columbia income assistance payments are issued on the third or fourth Wednesday of each month, otherwise known as the “welfare Wednesday.”
The BC income and disability assistance payments dates for 2021 are below:
|Benefit Month||Payment Date|
|February 2021||January 20, 2021|
|March 2021||February 17, 2021|
|April 2021||March 24, 2021|
|May 2021||April 21, 2021|
|June 2021||May 19, 2021|
|July 2021||June 23, 2021|
|August 2021||July 21, 2021|
|September 2021||August 25, 2021|
|October 2021||September 22, 2021|
|November 2021||October 20, 2021|
|December 2021||November 17, 2021|
|January 2022||December 15, 2021|
The payment for January 2021 was paid on December 16th, 2020.
Recipients can receive the benefit payments as a Direct Deposit in their bank accounts or as a Cheque. Obviously, the quickest and most convenient method is Direct Deposit.
You can easily set it up by completing the request form and attaching a VOID cheque. Learn more about the process here.
If you prefer to receive the income assistance as cheque, check below for the PWD cheque dates and when you can expect to receive or pick them up it.
PWD Cheque Dates
Income or disability assistance cheques can either be received in the mail or picked up at a government office.
PWD cheque issue dates are the same as the payment dates shown in the table above, but the cheques are mailed out earlier on the preceding Sunday.
This ensures that there’s enough time to receive the cheque in the mail by the disability assistance payment dates.
Cheques are available for pick up at government offices, only for those that use that option, on the B.C. disability cheque dates for 2021 listed below:
- January 18, 2021
- February 16, 2021
- March 22, 2021
- April 19, 2021
- May 17, 2021
- June 21, 2021
- July 19, 2021
- August 23, 2021
- September 20, 2021
- October 18, 2021
- November 15, 2021
- December 13, 2021
What is BC Disability Assistance?
The Disability assistance benefit is a government of British Columbia program that provides financial and health support for residents that have been designated as Person with Disability (PWD).
It is one of several services and supports offered by the government and other corporations with annual funding above $5 billion.
The program targets BC residents with severe physical or mental impairments that prevents normal daily living activities without some form assistance.
PWD Benefits: Disability Assistance in BC
The main benefit provided under the Disability assistance is the monthly financial support payments. But beneficiaries may also be eligible for other benefits.
Disability assistance financial support provides a monthly living allowance that is made up of the:
- Support Rate; and
The total benefit depends on the number of people in your family (i.e. unit size), the adults with the PWD designation and income from other sources.
For example, a single person can expect to receive up to $1,358.42 in financial support with gradual increases as the unit size increases. We’ll cover this in details below.
You may also qualify for additional financial supports through the Supplement assistances below
Also, children below 19 may also receive Child Benefits Top-up Supplement
Supplements provide additional services or money to cover extra costs that PWD may need. There are more than 30 but they can be categorized into two:
- General Supplements
- Health Supplements
General supplements include Bus pass ($52 in cash or as bus pass), clothing, guide dog and service dog, travel, pre-natal shelter, camp fees and many more.
Health Benefits include Dental, Optical, alternative hearing assistance, hearing instruments, medical supplies, equipment and devices, natal and nutritional supplement and so on.
Check here for a full list of the supplements.
There are additional eligibility criteria for each of the supplements. You should contact the Ministry via phone or visit a local office to know if you’re eligible and how to apply.
Employment Support through WorkBC
People living with disabilities that are able to work can also get some help from WorkBC to explore their options. Support provided includes:
- Education and skills training
- Funding and support for assistive adaptions
- Gain work experience and find a job
- Start and expand a business
Eligibility for BC Disability Assistance
Eligibility for disability assistance in British Columbia is determined based on the 5 conditions below. A person will be eligible if they:
- Are 18 years and above, though they can start the application 6 months earlier
- Meet the financial eligibility criteria
- Have a severe physical or mental impairment that’s expected to last for more than 2 years
- Are significantly restricted in their ability to perform daily-living activities; and
- Need assistance with daily living activities from another person, an assistive device or an assistive animal.
This is perhaps the most important criteria. An applicant must meet the definition of a person with disability and be designated as such by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
However, the designation isn’t permanent – it can be rescinded by the ministry. If this happens, the recipient will receive a decision letter explaining the reason, effective date and the recipient’s right to reconsideration.
You must meet both income and asset criteria to receive diability assistance
While you can work and still receive the benefit, there’s a cap on how much you can earn before it starts reducing your benefits. The amount is called Annual Earnings Exemption and it varies as shown below:
- Single person with the PWD designation: $15,000
- Family with 2 adults but only one person with PWD designation: $18,000
- A Family with 2 adults where both have the PWD designation: $30,000
Any income above these limits will reduce the financial assistance payments dollar for dollar.
There’s also a limit to how much assets applicants can own to receive the benefits. The general asset exemption is:
- Couple, family or single with one person having a PWD designation: $100,000
- Couple with both adults having the designation: $200,000
However, some assets don’t count towards the limits. They include home, motor vehicle, assets held in a trust, RDSP, clothing and necessary household equipments.
How to Apply for PWD Disability Assistance
If you meet the minimum age requirement of 18, then the application process has 2 steps:
- An Assessment of your financial eligibility
- Completing the persons with disability designation application
You can assess your financial eligibility through the Estimator tool on the My Self Serve platform Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (SDPR). The tool will show if you qualify and how much you can expect to receive.
If you qualify based on your income and asset, you can then proceed with your application for the PWD designation.
Persons with Disabilities designation application
You’ll need to contact the ministry to request for the application. The application has 3 sections to be completed by the applicant, their doctor or nurse (medical report section) and a prescribed professional (assessor report portion).
The prescribed professional can be a social worker, doctor or registered nurse. Once the application is completed and submitted, it’ll be reviewed to confirm that the applicant satisfies the eligibility criteria.
There’s a simplified application process for applicants that are already beneficiaries of selected programs such as Community Living BC (CLBC), Canada Pension Plan – Disability Benefits etc.
Can I work while receiving disability benefits?
Income and disability assistance recipients are allowed to work and earn some income. Their earnings will not affect their benefits up to a certain limit known as the Annual Earnings Exemption.
The applicable limits for the different unit sizes were covered above.
A single person can earn up to $15,000 without any clawback of their benefit payments, while a couple with PWD designations can earn a combined income of $30,000 before their benefits will be affected.
How much can I expect to receive as disability assistance payments?
It depends on the family unit size and the number of people with the PWD designation. The table below shows the maximum that can be earned as support rate and for shelter for family unit sizes of 1 to 7.
A single person with no kids can earn up to $1,358.42 (shelter of $375 and support of $983.42). A couple (with no kids) and both having the PWD designation can earn up to $2,228.06.
Columns A – D are the Support Rates and they are explained below
The shelter amount increases by $35 for each additional dependant after the unit size of 7.
To know how much you can receive as disability assistance benefit, identify which of the categories you belong to: A B, C or D. Then add up the support rate and the shelter rate for your family unit size.
Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) Benefits
The Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) is another designation in British Columbia for people experiencing long-term barriers to employment.
To qualify as a person with persistent multiple barriers, the two criteria below must be met:
- an health condition that has lasted for at least a year and expected to last for at least 2 more years
- presence of at least one other barriers to employment.
PPMB is part of the BC Employment and Assistance program, so it is a different benefit from PWD program.
BC residents designated as PPMB receive higher amounts under the BC Income Assistance Benefits.
Learn more about the PPMB program here.
BC PWD Earnings Exemption 2021
The British Columbia Disability program encourages its recipients to work and earn some money.
In fact, you’ll end up with more money if you decide to work because your income, up to a limit, will not reduce your monthly benefit.
While there are no monthly limit on how much you can earn, there’s an annual earnings exemption. Any amount you earn beyond the annual exception will reduce your monthly PWD payments.
The BC PWD annual earnings exception for 2021 are:
- $15,000: Singles with the PWD designation
- $18,000: Families where only one adult has the PWD designation
- $30,000: Families where both adults are designated as PWD
The annual earnings exemptions increased in 2021. For example, the earnings exemption for singles was $12,000 in 2020.
Note that the exemption applies to earned income from January 1 to December 31 of the year, and it can’t be carried over.
BC Disability Rates Increase 2021
The BC government increased the disability amounts by $175 across board starting with the April 2021 payments.
With the disability rate increase in 2021, a single beneficiary will now receive $983.42 from the previous $808.42; while a couple with no kids get $2,228.06 instead of the old $2,073.06.
This followed the end of the COVID-19 support payments introduced last year.
The temporary BC recovery supplement paid an extra $300 per month as COVID-19 benefits in 2020, but was cut in half starting January 2021. And the last payment was made with the March 2021 cheque.
The permanent increase effectively replaced the temporary supplement introduce last year, though with a smaller amount.
Learn more about other provincial disability and income assistance programs in the links below: