The government of British Columbia (BC) has made many modifications to the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities programs and services. These have been to better provide financial support as well as to encourage and offer assistance for those that are disabled but are able to contribute to the workforce.
In order to better serve those that are disabled and to make the transition into employment easier, the BCEA offers benefits that no other Provinces do. Currently the disability amount is third highest in Canada. In addition, if you leave the program to pursue a job you will still maintain your designation of Persons with Disabilities (PWD). Assistance with medical costs will also still be available.
The person must reside in British Columbia and be 18 years of age or older. It must be determined that the person meets the criteria for being disabled. This includes that a medical practitioner determines that the disability is most likely to last for a minimum of 2 years.
A physical disability must have a significant and direct impact on the person’s ability to perform basic living activities either on a continuous basis or periodically for what is considered to be extended periods. Because of the restrictions caused by the disability, the person requires the assistance of a device or another person to do daily tasks.
In the case of a mental disability, the person must have a severe mental impairment. It must be determined that the disability is severe enough that a person cannot perform basic daily living activities. The person must require either a great deal of supervision by another person, the assistance of a device or use of an assistance animal.
In order to receive any of the services available for those who are disabled and residing in British Columbia, you must submit a Persons with Disabilities (PWD) application form. Along with your portion of the application, you are required to have a physician’s report completed by a medical practitioner or a physician.
There is a wide variety of assistance available for those who qualify for the Persons with Disabilities (PWD). You will receive financial support that will contribute to housing, food and personal expenses. It is also encouraged that is you are able to perform any type of job, that you obtain employment. There is an exemption of up to a maximum of $500.00 allowed per month. This means you are allowed to earn that much without there being any deductions in your monthly amount.
You will be able to apply for a low-cost annual bus pass. Medical coverage is available and it is included with no deductible. This means that costs such as prescriptions would qualify for 100% reimbursement. Other health supplements that will be allowed are optical and dental. With no deductible, BC offers one of the best medical coverage plans in the country for those that are disabled.
In order to receive benefits you will need to submit an application but you will also have to prove that you have attempted to find employment. As long as you are able, you will have to do your part by submitting resumes and going to interviews. Then you will have to have a form signed by the person performing the interview.
One requirement is that you participate in orientation, which can be done online, or in person. This is an opportunity to find out what the requirements are with work search and assistance will be provided on how to find jobs. Subjects like rules for eligibility, expectations, required documents, income and asset levels and other details will all be addressed during this period.
If your disability prevents you from performing any type of employment then the work search step will be omitted. You will still be eligible for benefits. The goal of this program is to permit people with disabilities to continue to contribute to society while still being able to sustain themselves financially. It is an opportunity to be able to maintain a certain quality of life even though you may have to deal with restrictions in your life.