Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Persons with Disabilities

BC Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities

The Province of British Columbia is committed to improving employment and assistance programs for people with disabilities.

The British Columbia Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Program promotes greater independence for people with disabilities, including income security.

In addition, the BCEA Program recognizes that people with disabilities may require additional supports, such as a higher assistance rate, supplementary assistance and employment supports in order to meet the challenges of daily living and move towards greater independence.

Individuals who leave assistance for employment or other income support programs keep their Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation and may maintain their medical assistance. They are not required to reapply for the designation if they reapply for disability assistance in the future.

Who is Eligible?

The Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act defines a person with disabilities as an individual who is at least 18 years of age, with a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for at least two years, and who:

  • is significantly restricted in his or her ability to perform daily living activities
  • requires assistance with daily living activities from another person, an assistive device or an assistance animal

The criteria include:

  • individuals with mental health disorders
  • individuals with episodic illnesses that restrict daily living activities continuously or periodically for extended periods

Application Process

Application forms are only available at Employment and Assistance offices. The PWD Designation Application form is intended only for persons who need assistance under the BCEA Program. Applicants who are not yet 18 years of age may submit their application up to six months prior to their 18th birthday.

The form has three sections:

  • applicant information—completed by
    the applicant
  • physician report—completed by a physician or medical practitioner
  • assessor report—completed by a prescribed professional of the applicant’s choice (e.g., if the applicant is applying due to mental illness, then a registered psychologist and/or registered psychiatric nurse)

The following are authorized prescribed professionals:

  • medical practitioner
  • registered psychologist or certified school psychologist
  • nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or registered psychiatric nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • physical therapist
  • social worker
  • chiropractor

Disability and Supplementary Assistance

A person with the PWD designation may be eligible for:

  • monthly support and shelter assistance
  • medical coverage which includes premium-free Medical Services Plan, no-deductible for PharmaCare and other medical benefits such as dental and optical coverage
  • an earnings exemption of $9,600 per calendar year
  • a low-cost annual bus pass

Other Related Brochures and Websites

Your Guide to Employment and Assistance

Your Responsibilities and Rights

Health & Other Supplements

Information for Persons with Disabilities

Applications for Persons with Disabilities Designation by Youth with a Developmental Disability

17-year-old Assistance Applicants

My Self Serve

More Information

Contact the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation by calling toll-free: 1-866-866-0800.