BC Provincial Disability Benefits (PWD)
This is a provincial program and you must live in BC to qualify. You may be eligible for disability benefits provided through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in BC if your daily activities are impacted significantly due to illness. This is known as a Person With Disabilities designation, or PWD.
PWD benefits are based on financial need. You will not qualify if you have too much money in the bank, if you have other sources of income or assets of a certain amount, or if you have a partner who makes too much income. Because of this you must first submit an application to Income Assistance before making an application for PWD. That allows the ministry to calculate your income to see if you qualify for PWD. If you do qualify the ministry office will then provide you with a PWD application which you will need to bring to the CF social worker so the social worker and doctor can complete it once you have filled in your section.
Unlike Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) you may qualify for PWD even if you have never worked or you have worked very little. Often younger people who have not worked enough to qualify for CPPD will qualify for PWD if they are too ill to continue working.
PWD provides financial support for housing and living expenses, but also provides some medical services support. If you are granted PWD status you will not have to pay MSP premiums and or for any Pharmacare covered medications. Most CF medications fall into this category. There is also some basic dental and equipment coverage provided, for example compressors needed for nebulizing some CF medications are covered.
Once on PWD for a period of time you are allowed to make up to $800 per month earned income without losing any of your PWD benefits. PWD benefits are not taxable. You may be able to attend school while on PWD, but it is important to discuss this with you local ministry office.
Legal Services Society has put out an easy to read guide for people on Social Assistance or PWD. Any special rules that apply specifically to PWD are highlighted in light blue. Click on the link below for a PDF copy of the guide.
To make an online application for Social Assistance in order to apply for PWD benefits click on the link below.