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Paine Edmonds LLP - Blog

Changes to Income and Disability Assistance in BC

By Ivar Lee, Partner at Paine Edmonds LLP, Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer

A number of policy changes concerning income and disability assistance in BC went into effect on October 1, 2012. One of these changes will have a significant and positive impact on people receiving such assistance and have personal injury claims (ie. an ICBC-related personal injury claim from a motor vehicle accident).

For those receiving income and disability assistance in BC and are involved in a personal injury claim, quite often a headache arises when their personal injury claim is settled and how the settlement will affect their entitlement to ongoing income and disability assistance since the settlement is often a lump sum payment. Ordinarily, receiving such a lump sum settlement would result in a reduction or loss of benefits. This would often result in an unjust and unfair result because the person has increased medical and care needs due to the accident (which the settlement is intended to compensate); however, receiving those critically needed funds would have the devastating impact of reducing or eliminating the person’s entitlement to income and disability assistance benefits they need simply to pay for regular and ongoing living expenses they had before the accident.

In such cases, setting up a non-discretionary trust would permit the person to continue receiving benefits while also enjoying the benefit of the settlement funds. However, under the previous law, such trusts were limited to an amount not exceeding $100,000. Under the new law, that limit has been increased to $200,000. This significant change will greatly assist those who receive a settlement for medical and care needs in excess of $100,000 (but not exceeding $200,000) with protecting their entitlement to ongoing income and disability assistance.

If you are receiving income and disability assistance in BC and are interested in retaining a personal injury lawyer to assist you with your personal injury claim so that you can maximize your settlement while minimizing the effect on your entitlement to benefits, please feel free to call one of our Vancouver personal injury lawyers today to arrange a free consultation by phone or in person.