British Columbia PWD Payment Dates and Benefits (2021)

This post covers the PWD cheque dates for 2021, disability assistance amounts, the eligibility and how to apply for it.

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 MonthPayment Date
February 2021January 20, 2021
March 2021February 17, 2021
April 2021March 24, 2021
May 2021April 21, 2021
June 2021May 19, 2021
July 2021June 23, 2021
August 2021July 21, 2021
September 2021August 25, 2021
October 2021September 22, 2021
November 2021October 20, 2021
December 2021November 17, 2021
January 2022December 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.

The cheques will be delivered to the government offices by Monday and be available for pickup for those that use that option.

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.

Financial Support

Disability assistance financial support provides a monthly living allowance that is made up of the:

  • Support Rate; and
  • Shelter

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 $1,183.42 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

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 and

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.

PWD Designation

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.

Financial Eligibility

You must meet both income and asset criteria to receive diability assistance

Income:

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.

Asset:

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 $1,183.42 (shelter of $375 and support of $808.42). A couple (with no kids) and both having the PWD designation can earn up to $2,073.06.

TABLE. SUMMARY

Unit SizeABCDShelter
1$808.42N/AN/AN/A$375
2$1,027.56$1,503.06$949.08$1,276.06$570
3$1,121.56$1,597.06$949.08$1,370.06$660
4$1,121.56$1,597.06$949.08$1,370.06$700
5$1,121.56$1,597.06$949.08$1,370.06$750
6$1,121.56$1,597.06$949.08$1,370.06$785
7$1,121.56$1,597.06$949.08$1,370.06$820

Columns A – D are the Support Rates and they are explained below

the support rates classes for the pwd benefit payments dates.

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.

BC Disability Rates Increase 2021

At the moment, there are no indication that there will be increases to the disability rates in 2021.

Though the B.C. Premier called for a permanent increase to the income and disability assistance rates in 2021, there have been no announcement  to that effect.

Also, the temporary BC recovery supplement that paid an extra $300 per month as COVID-19 benefits in 2020 was cut in half starting January 2021. And the last payment will be for the March 2021 cheque.

Beneficiaries don’t need to apply for the temporary supplement. It will automatically be added to their benefits on the PWD cheque dates.

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Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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