Income Assistance

Trouble navigating the disability system?


Our Disability Benefits Navigator allows you to quickly find what you might be missing:





Get help filing your return


Get help filing your tax return:

If you qualify for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and have a simple tax situation, a trained volunteer will help you complete your income tax and benefit return.

To maintain an individual’s eligibility for the RDSP they must file a tax return.

To receive your GST rebate, you must file a tax return.

For more information, go to:

For clinics in BC Click on the LINK to Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics.

Legal information made easy!


Check out this new website, Clicklaw, for all British Columbians.  You can access guides, information sheets and a legal advocate directory.  There is a special topic area for disability that can help you understand your rights to medical care, disability benfits and income assitance. 

There are tons of resources here, for example, in the learn and teach section you can find a link to a video for children to help them understand divorce.

Remember: Review your own needs!


Although, there does not seem to be an "official" policy in place about yearly reviews for PWD benefits, it appears that people are no longer being asked to come into the Ministry offices every year to prove they are still disabled.

While this is mostly a GOOD thing you must remember that as your health or living situations change, you may be eligible for an additional  supplement or benefit.  Even if you are not being asked to attend an office to do a yearly review, take the time to review your own needs.  It might be time to visit your local MEIA office and ask for a reveiw.

Cuts to Medical Coverage = fewer dentist visits


Cuts to Medical Coverage and Minimum Shelter Allowance

FromBC Coaltion for People with Disabilities

Following the March 2nd budget, the Ministry of Housing and Social Development announced it will be making a number of cuts to the health and medical services available to people receiving provincial disabilitybenefits and income assistance. The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) is very concerned about the impact that these changes will have on our community.

We are also disappointed at the lack of community consultation about these cuts. If you share our concerns, we invite you to write to Minister Coleman and your MLA. You can find your local MLA and Minister Coleman’s contact information by going to

The BCCPD is currently reviewing the new regulations in order to provide you with detailed information on the changes. In the meantime, here is a very brief list of some of the changes which will come into force on April 1st (unless we have indicated a different date).

Medical Equipment and Supplies

A broad range of medical equipment and supplies will no longer be funded by the Ministry. Those that will be funded must be the cheapest appropriate to the person’s needs and are listed in the regulations. Here are some examples of items that the Ministry will no longer fund:

  • diagnostic testing devices such as glucose meters
  • contraceptive devices (for example, IUDs)
  • pre-made orthotics.


In addition to changes to what the Ministry will fund, there will be restrictions, for example on:

  • how often the Ministry will repair or replace equipment
  • how much money the Ministry will spend on each item of equipment. For instance, motorized scooters valued at more than $3,500 will not be funded. To be eligible for a motorized scooter, a physician must say the applicant won’t need a wheelchair for 5 years.

Monthly Nutritional Supplement (MNS)

The eligibility requirements for the MNS have been tightened. For example:

  • loss of bone density will no longer count as a symptom
  • significant weight loss not significant weight change will be used to determine eligibility.
  • applicants will be required to demonstrate they have at least two symptoms, rather than one which is currently the case.

The MNS will be reduced by $20 because the Ministry will no longer fund bottled water. People currently receiving the bottled water supplement will receive it until May 31st 2010 only.

Medical Services: Time limits and Income-Testing

  • People with disabilities who leave assistance when they turn 65 and go on to the seniors’ pension, or people who leave provincial disability for Canada Pension Plan Disability will only keep their medical and dental coverage for one year, rather than permanently as is currently the case.
  • People with disabilities who leave assistance for employment will only keep their medical coverage if they are receiving Premium Assistance from the Medical Services Plan.

Dental Treatment

  • Cleaning, examinations and fluoride treatments will be reduced to once a year (currently twice a year).
  • X-ray coverage every 2 years (currently every year).

Shelter Allowance

The $75 monthly Shelter Allowance for people who don’t pay rent is eliminated as of June 1st 2010.


Start a RDSP with Endowment 150


Go to the Vancouver Foundation’s website on Endowment 150 an initiative that helps people to get started on saving through a RDSP by offering a one-time $150 gifts to a Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). Check it out…

Dental Benefits for people receiving PWD benefits in BC


Dental supplements

You will also be eligible for some dental supplements, or supplies
and services. Talk to an EAW as you may need to get MHSD approval first for some of these.

If you are receiving PWD you will be eligible for:

  • Dental care coverage of up to $1,000 every 2 years. This continues after you turn 65 years of age.
  • Your spouse will receive $1,000 of dental care coverage every 2 years.
  • If you are receiving PPMB you will be eligible for:
  • Dental care coverage of up to $1,000 every 2 years. This continues after you turn 65 years of age.

Dependant children of people receiving basic income assistance, PWD and PPMB are eligible for $700 per year dental coverage.

PWD and PPMB recipients may be eligible for crown and bridgework if their dental condition cannot be corrected by basic dental services and a removable prosthetic cannot be used for health reasons. This coverage continues after the age of 65.

  • Dentures:

  • complete or partial (extractions must have taken place within 6 months of applying)
  • denture relinement or rebaseing (every 2 years)
  • replacement dentures every 5 years (you must have been on income assistance or disability benefits for at least 2 years). Health Assistance Branch may approve exemptions to the once every 5 years replacement policy if the dentures being replaced were lost or damaged beyond repair, the loss or damage was beyond your control, and new dentures are needed to avoid health problems.
  • Emergency dental services for the immediate relief of pain

  • Orthodontic services (must be requested by your dental practitioner and authorized by the MHSD)

For more information about Supplementary Health Benefits for People with Disabilities see:

No Summer Camps for Kids with Disabilities this Year


The Vancouver Sun reported that summer camp fees for Children with disabilities has been cut this year.

The total cost of the program is $360,000 and I suppose things must be pretty bad for the Liberals to be so parsimonious when it comes to kids with disabilities and a bit of summertime enjoyment.

You can write Rich Coleman a note to share your feelings on this topic.

CPP get it early! / GIS information / Survivor benefits


Canada Pension Plan- Recieve it early!

You may want to receive an early CPP- at the age of 60 , or at age 65 or even at age 70, depending on your comfort income level.

Should you collect CPP at the age of 60, you will receive a 30% less benefit than at age 65.

If you want some help to look at this give Frank Jetha a call at 604-298-1085


Guaranteed Income Supplement

This is an additional monthly benefit available to seniors who receive an Old Age Security Pension and have a low or modest income. A couple should have an income of less than $31,000 a year whereas a single person’s income should be less than

$12,800 a year. OAS and GIS is not considered as income in the above yearly incomes. Shoud you qualify for this benefit (GIS) then you would get a subsidized bus pass for $45/year.

Again if you need help to take the next steps with this give Frank Jetha a call at 604-298-1085


Survivors Benefits

Death benefits is interconnected with the contribution you made to CPP over your working life. It varies person to person according to your contribution. If your spouse dies you can get up to $2500 towards funeral costs. You can also collect up to 62% of the deceased spouses CPP. eg. if he was collecting $300 you could colletct up to $180.

If there are children under age of 18 they are also eligible for survivor benefits as well. If there are children up to 25 years of age attending school full time they can qualify as well.

Updated PWD Help Sheets


Help Sheets on Disability benefit related subjects are available from the B.C. Coalition for People with Disabilities       

For example… RDSP information, PWD Benefits, Health supplements, Trusts etc.