Effective October 1, 2017, the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE) limit will increase by $2,400 for each person receiving Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefits. This earnings exemption allows people receiving PWD benefits to make money from employment over the calendar year without a reduction of their benefits. The AEE does not apply to money received from most other sources such as Canada Pension Plan benefits or Old Age Security benefits. The new AEE limits will be:

  1. Single person with a disability: $12,000
  2. Couple, one person with a disability: $14,400
  3. Couple, both people with a disability: $24,000

The increase in the AEE rate means that some people who previously exceeded their AEE limit earlier in 2017 may be eligible for a top-up of benefits. They are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for further information.

An advocate from The Advocacy Centre visits Castlegar and Trail every month.

The advocate can discuss income assistance, disability income assistance, landlord/tenant problems (with tenants), family law information, and accessing Legal Services information and resources.

Advocacy Centre schedule for Fall /Winter



Advocacy dates.pdf_page_1

For a printable copy of this schedule, click here.

Job Opportunity

This permanent part-time position reports to the Manager of The Advocacy Centre. The Community-Based Victim Assistance Program Coordinator provides support, information related to the justice system and advocacy to victims of violence in relationships, sexual assault, child abuse and criminal harassment; provides support and supervision to the Community-Based Victim Assistance Support Worker; and facilitates community coordination and outreach.

For a full job description and how to apply to this position, click here.

As some of you know, the Advocacy Centre helps people with applications and appeals for the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) designation.

Due to extremely high demand for this service, we are no longer able to help individual clients with their initial application.   Instead, we are offering group sessions to people who want help with the application process.   We will explain the criteria, the form, and what sort of information the Ministry is looking for in the applications.

We will hold these sessions approximately every three weeks.   The upcoming sessions will be held at the Advocacy Centre, 521 Vernon Street, Nelson on the following dates:

Tues, Sept 21 – 10am-noon
Tues, Oct 10 – 10am-noon
Tues, Oct 31 – 10am-noon
Tues, Nov 21 – 10am-noon
Tues, Dec 12 – 10am-noon

Please drop us a line at (250) 352-5777 to reserve your spot.

APB-Advice-A-Thon-poster-3_0.jp.pdf_page_1For more information on this event, click here.

Disability Alliance BC

Premier John Horgan has announced a monthly increase of $100 to BC disability and income assistance rates. This change begins September 20th 2017 (October benefits). The maximum rate for support and shelter for a single person will be:

  • $710 (Income Assistance)
  • $757 (Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment – PPMB)
  • $1081 (Persons with Disabilities with a bus pass – PWD)
  • $1133 (Persons with Disabilities without a bus pass – PWD)

Families with two adults who both have the PWD designation will receive a $200 monthly increase. This is the first increase to income assistance rates in a decade despite the rapidly rising cost of living across the province.

Disability Alliance BC applauds the new government’s fast implementation of these much needed increases.

Additional Information

The new Minister responsible for disability benefits and income assistance (Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction) is the Honourable Shane Simpson.

While there has been no formal announcement, Minister Simpson’s mandate letter from the Premier directs him to implement a $200 monthly increase to the earnings exemption for assistance recipients and restore the BC Bus Pass program.

There has also been no announcement about an increase for people receiving Room and Board benefits, or the Comforts Allowance.

We have no further information about these changes at this time.

If you have any questions about this announcement please feel free to contact Sam Turcott, Advocacy Access Program Director at 604-872-1278 or 1-800-663-1278.

For a PDF of this memo, click here

Looking beyond the numbers to focus on real-life stories, Sharing Our Realities: Life on Disability Assistance in British Columbia finds a remarkable consensus between people with disabilities, income assistance workers, and even the findings of the government’s own disability consultation about what ails the system and what is needed to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

“The message is that we don’t have enough for basics like food and shelter,” said Frank, who receives disability assistance, “and this makes our disabilities worse. We are losing our health. We are losing our homes. We are losing our lives. This is a crisis.”

Read the full report here

The report is co-authored by Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN) and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and co-sponsored by the BC Disability Caucus, BCGEU, Together Against Poverty Society and Raise the Rates.