Persons With Disabilities
- The goal of the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act is greater independence for people with disabilities, including security of income, enhanced well-being and participation in the community.
- The Act recognizes that persons with disabilities face unique challenges in daily living and may require continuous assistance or supports to find employment.
Definition of Persons with Disabilities:
- A Person with Disabilities is a person with a physical or mental impairment who is significantly restricted in his or her ability to perform daily living activities either "continuously or periodically for extended periods" and, as a result of these restrictions, requires assistance with daily living activities. Assistance could come from another person, an assistance animal or an assistive device.
- The legislation establishes a disability "designation" which is maintained unless a review shows that a person's situation has changed. Periodically, the ministry will review files. If during the review additional information from a health professional is needed, the person will be asked to submit a new physician and/or assessor report.
- The legislation focuses on functional limitations, which makes the definition of disability consistent with human rights case law.
- The criteria specifically address those individuals with mental health disorders.
- The criteria also include those with episodic illnesses by acknowledging that restrictions to daily living activities can be continuous or periodic for extended periods.
- People receiving disability assistance are eligible for additional supports such as medical coverage that includes Medical Services Plan, no-deductible for PharmaCare and other medical benefits such as dental and optical coverage.
- Persons with Disabilities are also eligible for low-cost annual bus passes.
- The ministry offers a range of specialized services that allows Persons with Disabilities to take advantage of employment opportunities as they are able.
- Persons with Disabilities who want to work will have an Employment Plan outlining the supports they need. Persons with Disabilities receive the same rate of assistance regardless of their ability to work.
- Persons with Disabilities also receive an earnings exemption of $800, which was increased from $500 in October 2012. More information on earnings exemptions is available on the ministry’s web site at: www.sd.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/2006/Earnings_Exemption.htm
- If clients leave assistance for employment, they keep their designation and maintain their medical assistance. If they return to BC Employment and Assistance, they do not have to reapply for disability status to re-establish their eligibility for assistance.
- The ministry introduced the Employment Strategy for Persons with Disabilities that focuses on developing a broad range of new skills training services and employment-related programs to assist persons with disabilities into the labour market and to improve their employment outcomes. Employment services and supports are available to Persons with Disabilities through the Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC) launched April 2, 2012. More information on the EPBC is available at: www.workbc.ca.
Other Employment Supports
- Disability Supports for Employment Fund (DSEF) - a $25 million fund that provides grants through the Vancouver Foundation to the charitable, non-profit sector in BC to augment the array of employment supports offered by the Ministry of Social Development. It funds innovative projects that provide disability supports to assist adults with disabilities secure and retain meaningful employment, self-employment and volunteer work.
- Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility - a forum comprised of members from the business, NGO, and government sectors as well as families and individuals with disabilities that advises the Minister of Social Development, as the lead of the Provincial Disability Strategy, on solutions and strategies to increase employment and accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Persons with Disabilities Designation Application
- Application forms are available to individuals who are either financially eligible or potentially eligible for disability assistance or income assistance. For an application form, please consult with a ministry worker at one of the Social Development offices across the province.
- Application forms have three sections. Section 1 must be completed by the applicant and Section 2 by his/her doctor. Section 3 must be completed by a prescribed professional of his/her choice, and be, preferably, familiar with the applicant.
- Prescribed professionals include: medical practitioners, registered psychologists, registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, chiropractors and nurse practitioners.
For more information:
Ministry of Social Development Info Line
1 866 866-0800