On September 1st, 2016, Plan Institute, Disability Alliance of BC (DABC), and the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS), with support from the Vancouver Foundation, launched a new 4-year project partnership called Access RDSP with the mandate to increase the number of British Columbians who have a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).
This project was established in response to the lack of uptake for this program, despite it being an incredible savings tool for individuals who meet the eligibility requirements. Currently, only a staggering 33% of eligible British Columbians, and 5% of eligible Indigenous persons have RDSPs.
The problem seems to lie in the fact that people are still unaware of this tool, don’t think they would qualify, are untrusting of government programs, or find the process too overwhelming to apply.
The Access RDSP partnership is trying to address these issues by providing free support and information on the RDSP and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout BC, as well as encouraging RDSP uptake with a $150 grant to jump-start their savings.
The following free supports and services are being provided by this program throughout BC:
- RDSP information sessions for individuals, organizations and financial institutions
- One-to-one support for Disability Tax Credit (DTC) applications
- A Canada-wide toll-free RDSP & disability planning hotline (1-844-311-7526)
- RDSP navigation for Indigenous persons
- A $150 grant (Endowment 150) for BC residents on low-income to help their RDSP grow
Here are some stories of how the project is making an Impact:
Cindy had never heard about the DTC or RDSP before her doctor mentioned them and referred her to DABC. Cindy then connected with an advocate at DABC and together they prepared sample materials to bring back to her doctor that she was then able to complete and send in to the CRA.
After about two months, she received a letter from the CRA and was approved for the DTC. Cindy called her advocate at DABC to share the good news, and after congratulating her, her advocate referred her to Plan Institute. Plan Institute helped her open an RDSP and she was eligible for up to $27,000 in grants and bonds!
Peter is 49 years old. Plan Institute advisors worked with him to determine his needs and wrote him a personalized letter to facilitate receipt of government ID (RDSP requirement). Because of this support, he was able to open his RDSP before the December 31st deadline and was eligible for $9,000 in government bonds.
Jim’s doctor had told him that his disability would not qualify for the DTC. After contacting BCANDS, an RDSP Navigator worked with Jim to provide him with the information needed to ensure his physician better understood his disabilities, and how they affect his everyday life. The Navigator wrote a new letter to the doctor explaining that eligibility for the DTC is not based on the medical condition itself, but rather on the effects that their impairment has on their life. He went back to his doctor and had the DTC Certificate completed. He is now waiting for an approval letter from CRA.
Through this project so far:
- 1683 individuals have been helped through the disability planning hotline
- 700 people have been reached through information sessions
- 91% of people we have helped have either successfully opened an RDSP or are actively engaged in the process of opening one
- 70 clients in Indigenous communities have been supported to open RDSPs
- 261 $150 grants have been distributed (we still have more than 3700 to give!)
Here is a scenario showing that without any personal contribution, just the $150 grant, grant and bonds, the RDSP can grow to over $36,000!
|E150 simulation||Invest at 5%||value end yr 5||value end yr 10||value end yr 20|
|total after elapsed time||$6,568||$14,184||$36,311|
It is important to highlight the important work that our affiliates across Canada are doing to help spread awareness about the RDSP by providing information and support. We are also grateful to the both Provincial and Federal Governments for their commitment and engagement in encouraging national RDSP uptake.
“I am very proud that our government is committed to improving the financial security and quality of life for all Canadians. I am encouraging all my provincial and territorial counterparts to join me in helping to ensure Canadians with disabilities are equipped to participate equally in their communities and workplaces.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
Together we can reduce barriers and help create a financial boost for those who need it most.
For more information or to access any of the services listed above, click here.