The first phase of annualized earnings exemptions, which will give individuals on disability assistance the opportunity to use their earnings exemptions on an annual instead of monthly basis, will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.
This initial phase will focus on about 5,000 disability assistance clients whose past earnings pattern shows they are most likely to benefit from annualized earnings exemptions.
Annualized earnings exemptions are beneficial for those whose ability to earn fluctuates during the year due to episodic medical conditions. This phased approach will allow the ministry to monitor the program and make necessary adjustments before opening the program up to all British Columbians on disability assistance in January 2014.
Government is also introducing a monthly earnings exemption of $1,000 for families with two adults where only one has the PWD designation. This change will support both spouses to earn income, gain work experience and better provide for their families without affecting their disability assistance.
Annualized earnings exemptions were announced in June as part of B.C.'s Families First Agenda, which also included increases to earnings exemption limits for people on disability assistance. Earnings exemptions help ensure those who are able to work are supported and encouraged to find employment without compromising their assistance.
Annualized earnings exemptions limits, which will cover earnings from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, are:
- $9,600 for one-adult families, where the adult has the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation.
- $12,000 for two-adult families, where only one adult has the PWD designation.
- $19,200 for two-adult families, where both adults have the PWD designation.
Clients chosen to participate in this first phase of implementation for annualized earnings exemptions must have:
- Had the PWD designation for at least the past 12 months;
- Received disability assistance in at least the past two consecutive months; and
- In at least one of the past 12 months, had earnings over $500 for families with one adult with a PWD designation and $750 for families where both adults have PWD designations.
B.C. is one of the first jurisdictions to introduce annualized earnings exemptions with the goal of helping people and families become self-sufficient so they can contribute to an expanding economy and healthy communities.
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development