British Columbia

Disability Assistance

Complex application

Tax filing not required

This benefit leads to others

Getting this benefit makes you able to get other related benefits, including

    The Disability Assistance program helps with financial and medical costs if you have a designated disability.

    When you’re on Disability Assistance the amount of financial support you receive depends on the size of your family. It also depends on whether another person in your family has the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation.

    For example, as of August 2023 you could get up to:

    • $1,483.50 if you are single
    • $2,548.50 if you and your spouse have the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation
    • $1,923.50 if you are a single-parent family with 2 children

    You can find out how much you could get by using the Disability Assistance Rate Table.

    To be eligible, you must:

    • Show that you meet financial eligibility to receive assistance.
    • Be 18 years old (you can start the application process when you are 17 ½).
    • Have a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for more than 2 years.
    • Be significantly restricted in your ability to perform daily living activities.
    • Require assistance with daily living activities from.
      • Another person.
      • An assistive device, or
      • An assistance animal.


    In addition, you must meet certain income and asset criteria before you can receive disability assistance. Some general assets are exempt, including:

    • Cash.
    • Personal property that can be turned into cash.
    • Personal interest in a trust.

    The general asset exemption limits are:

    • $100,000 for a single, couple, or family where one person has the PWD designation.
    • $200,000 for a couple where both adults have the PWD designation.

    Some assets are allowed and don’t count towards the general limit above, such as:

    • Your home.
    • 1 motor vehicle.
    • Clothing and necessary household equipment.
    • A Registered Disability Saving Plan.
    • Assets held in a qualifying trust.


    If you are a beneficiary of a trust, someone else legally owns money or other assets for your benefit. If you have a trust or are setting up a trust, it must be reviewed and approved before it qualifies for the exemption.

    You should get legal advice if you want to create a trust or if you need more information specific to your situation.

    Health card

    For example:

    • valid health card with no photo, name and address
    • valid health card with photo, name and address
    • MCP (Medical Care Plan) number
    • Valid ambulance/dental services card
    • Department of Immigration, Skills and Labour identification number
    • Department of Immigration, Skills and Labour file number (Income Support Card).

    Proof of  residency in Province

    For example:

    • lease agreement
    • rent receipt
    • household bill
      • gas
      • electricity
      • cable television
      • telephone
    • driver's license
    • vehicle registration or car insurance
    • membership in social or professional organization
    • Other:
      • bank information
      • employment information

    Proof of primary responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child

    For example:

    • a letter from the day care or school authorities indicating the child’s home address and contact information on file
    • a letter from a social worker, physician, a band council, or a resettlement officer stating that they have personal knowledge that the child lived with you for the period you indicated
    • a registration form or a receipt from an activity or club the child was enrolled in for the period you indicated
    • a court order, decree, or separation agreement that explains the type of custody arrangement you have (for example, shared custody) and clearly shows the living arrangements for the child
    • any other document showing that the child lived with you for the period you indicated

    Proof of marital/common-law status

    For example:

    • Marriage certificate
    • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union

    Proof of housing situation

    For example:

    • letter from landlord about your housing situation
    • eviction notice
    • disconnection notice
    • police report about an incident involving your housing
    • moving company quote or invoice
    • list of repairs needed in home
    • list of expenses for renovations needed for independence in the home
    • proof of home ownership (mortgage, property ownership)

    The application process includes:

    1. Showing that you meet financial eligibility to receive assistance.
    2. Completing the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Designation Application.

    Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation application

    Contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development to request an application.

    The application has 3 sections:

    • You fill out the applicant portion
    • Your doctor or nurse practitioner fills out the medical report portion
    • A prescribed professional (doctor, registered nurse or social worker) fills out the assessor report portion. For example, this could be a doctor, registered nurse or social worker.

    After you submit your application, it will be reviewed, and you will be contacted if you meet the eligibility criteria for the PWD designation.

    Simplified application process

    If you already take part in certain programs, you may be able to use a simplified PWD application process.

    You’re eligible for this simplified process if you receive benefits from:

    • Community Living BC (CLBC)
    • The Ministry of Children and Family Development at Home Program
    • BC PharmaCare Plan P – Palliative Care Benefits
    • Canada Pension Plan – Disability Benefits

    This means you’ll complete a shorter PWD application form that gives the ministry permission to confirm your eligibility from one of those programs. You won’t have to complete a full PWD application and get a new diagnosis.

    Contact the ministry to request a Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Designation—Prescribed Class Application. You’ll still have to meet all other eligibility requirements to begin receiving disability assistance.

    Teens with an intellectual disability

    You may also be able to use a simplified PWD application process if you:

    • Are 17½ to 19 years old, and
    • Have a confirmed intellectual disability

    This means you can submit an existing psychological assessment and diagnosis rather than completing a full PWD application.

    Contact the ministry for instructions on how to begin this simplified application process.

    Last updated: January 2, 2024