Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit is a monetary assistance provided by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (MSDPR) for people who need help completing everyday activities.


You can read a more detailed description of the eligibility requirements and benefits from the BC Government website here.

To be eligible for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit, 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 two 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

Your PWD benefit (rate) is based on your specific family situation.
The PWD benefit is made up of 3 parts: a shelter amount, support amount (for daily living necessities) and a transportation allowance.

For more details, check out the Benefit Rate Chart on our Resources page.

It depends on your family situation.  For example, a single person can earn up to 12,000 a year without it affecting their disability benefit.

Check out the "Annual Earnings Exemption" column on the Benefit Rate Chart on our Resources page for more details.

Note: To be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance, a family unit's net income must not equal or exceed the amount of income assistance or disability assistance that would be payable to a family unit of that size and composition.

Annual Earning Exemption (AEE) is the Ministry calculation of the PWD recipient earnings on an annual basis. Income you are receiving for work, up to certain amount, will not affect your disability assistance.

AEE applies on earnings you receive from January 1 to December 31.

Note: It does not carry over to the next year! On January 1 you will receive a new exemption amount.

The current exemption limits are:

•    $12,000 for a single person with the PWD designation
•    $14,400 for a family with two adults where only one person has the PWD
•    $24,000 for a family where both adults have the PWD

Note: If you started your disability assistance part way through the year, your annual earnings exemption amount will be calculated based on the number of months remaining in the calendar year. Also, it will be re-calculated if your family status changed.

For more details, check out the Benefit Rate Chart on our Resources page.

You can earn the AEE at any month of the year. For instance, you work January-June receiving $1,500 a month for a total of $9,000, then you decrease your work hours earning $500 a month for a total of $3,000.  By December 31, you will reach your AEE of $12000 (assuming you are a single person).

Note: If you started your disability assistance part way through the year, your annual earnings exemption amount will be calculated based on the number of months remaining in the calendar year. Also, it will be re-calculated if your family status changed.

When you reach 75% of your AEE, you will receive a letter of your exemption limit from the Ministry.

Note: You should keep track of your working income to see how much you have left of your AEE so that you can plan your finances. Anything you earn over the AEE limit will be deducted dollar for dollar from your assistance cheque. If the amount earned is greater than the amount able to be deducted, then your assistance file will be transferred to a Medical Service Only (MSO) file.

If you reach the Annual Earning Exemption (AEE) and/or your monthly earnings continue to be over the assistance rate,  your assistance file will be transferred to a Medical Service Only (MSO) file.  This means you will lose your financial assistance but your Persons with Disabilities designation will remain.  You may also be able to continue your medical and transportation benefits.

For example, if you reach your AEE by the month of October, your disability payments will stop. However, be sure to continue to submit your Monthly Report form each month! This way, you may be able to receive disability assistance without having to reapply when you are eligible for your new earnings exemption limit in the new calendar year. Otherwise, you will need to reapply for assistance.

If you are receiving PWD benefits, you have to report all *qualifying income received and any changes to other income and/or circumstances by the 5th of the month following the change.

To report your income, changes in income or circumstances, you should use the Monthly Report Form (HR0081). (Click here to get the form)

Unlike those receiving Income Assistance who complete the report every month, for persons receiving PWD benefits, it is not necessary to complete the Monthly Report Form each month - unless your income or circumstances have changed.

You have to include any pay stubs with the report form. Your pay stub and monthly report form can be dropped off at your local Ministry office. If you cannot physically do this, contact the Ministry and all reasonable effort will be taken to assist you in reporting.

You have to report your income accurately and completely when required to do so.


*Qualified income refers to income that can be considered "earned income". To learn more, watch our video Earned vs Unearned income

Earned income, is income that is classified as any of the following:

•   Any money received for working
•   Pension plan contributions that are refunded due to insufficient contributions to qualify for a pension
•   Money received from providing room and board at your residence
•   Money received from renting rooms at your residence

Unearned income, is any income that is not earned income. Some types of unearned income include:

•   Money, annuities, stocks, bonds, shares, and interest-bearing accounts or properties
•   Tax refund
•   Employment Insurance
•   Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments
•   Superannuation benefits
•   Any type or class of Canada Pension Plan benefits

•   War disability pensions, military pensions, and war veterans’ allowances
•   Insurance benefits, except insurance paid as compensation for a destroyed asset
•   Workers’ compensation benefits and disability payments or pensions
•   Widows’ or orphans’ allowances
•   A trust or inheritance
•   Rental of tools, vehicles, or equipment
•   Rental of land, self-contained suites, or other property except the applicant or recipient's place of residence
•   Interest earned on a mortgage or agreement for sale
•   Maintenance under a court order, separation agreement, or other agreement
•   Education or training allowances, grants, loans, bursaries, or scholarships
•   A lottery or a game of chance

For more details about income types and exemptions, click here.

Yes you can. For more information, please refer to the Ministry Fact Sheet.

Transportation Supplement Fact Sheet - Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

MHCC Cross-Site at Home National Final Report

Effective: June 27, 2016

Yes, a monthly supplement of $95 may be issued to help with the maintenance of a guide dog team, service dog team and/or retired guide or service dog team. 

This supplement is available to eligible recipients of income assistance, hardship assistance, or disability assistance.

For more details on eligibility, click here.

With changes made on December 1, 2015 on Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disability Regulation, inheritances are exempt for people on PWD. When you get your inheritance, you have to declare the amount to the Ministry on your Monthly Report. It is considered exempt as income and exempt up to your asset level ($100,000 for single person).

Money received on the first month is considered as “income”. If the amount received is over the income assistance rate, a cheque will not be sent the following month. However, money remaining after the change of the calendar month is considered as “asset”. If the amount you receive is over the amount of your asset level, the Ministry expects every $2,000 to last 30 days.

For more information, check out the Benefit Rate Chart on our Resources page.

*Note: ICBC money for vehicle replacement is exempt.

It is also important to know that you may be able to set up a trust fund to preserve the money, which can be used towards disability related costs for promoting independence later on.

The Monthly Nutritional Supplement is a benefit available only to people receiving disability (PWD) benefits (not available to those with Medical Services Only (MSO), Person with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) or regular income assistance status). This benefit provides for vitamins, minerals, and additional nutritional supplementation.

To be eligible, you must have a chronic and progressive deteriorating condition directly causing at least two of the following symptoms:

•   Significant deterioration of a vital organ
•   Immune suppression (moderate to severe)
•   Malnutrition
•   Significant muscle mass loss
•   Significant neurological deterioration
•   Significant weight loss
•   Underweight status

On the application, your medical professional will need to verify that the requested items will alleviate the wasting symptoms and will prevent an imminent danger to life and note your health will deteriorate significantly without the nutritional supplement.

If you wish to apply, contact MSDPR and ask for a Monthly Nutritional Supplement application form. You will then need to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to complete the form and return it to you. Then, you submit the form to MSDPR.

Your child can NOT receive PWD if he or she is underage. Once your child is of age (6 months before their 18th birthday), they can apply for their own PWD benefit at which time you should contact ministry to take them off of your file.

If you child is underage and "has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions", your child may be eligible for the Child Disability Benefit (CDB).

For more information, read more about Child Disability Benefit.

As of September 1st, 2016, the yearly "Special Transportation Subsidy" which was previously a lump sum, is no longer available.

This has been replaced with an increase to the monthly support allowance as well as the annual bus pass that is available to individuals on disability assistance through a new transportation supplement (January 1st, 2018).

Both are disability benefits, but they are very different in terms of who is eligible for each one, and what additional benefits are included.

One of the main differences is that in order to be eligible to receive Canada Pension Plan Disability, you must have made Canada Pension Plan contributions during your working life.  Also, with CPPD,  the disability relates to your ability to work. With PWD, the disability is not work related but is assessed in terms of your ability to complete daily living tasks such as grooming, cooking etc.

See our comparison chart and video for more information

PWD (Persons with Disabilities) CPPD (Canada Pension Plan Disability
BC Provincial Government Program Federal Government Program
Governed and delivered by The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (MSDPR) Governed and delivered by Service Canada
Support, shelter and transportation allowance = $1133.42 for a single person (Oct 1, 2017) Minimum amount is approx. $500 based on years employed and CPP contributions for a single person
Benefits available (medical, dental, annual bus pass amount) No benefits available
Not income taxable Income taxable
Cannot be garnished Can be garnished
Employment earnings allowed up to $12,000 / year Employment earnings allowed up to $5,500 / year (2017)
Only allowed up to 30 days absence from province Can live anywhere in Canada

Watch our video explaining the differences between the two disability benefits

All CPP benefit types are considered unearned income. Canada Pension Plan (CPP) income is not exempt and will be deducted from your PWD cheque. There are only two exceptions:

•    a surviving child’s benefit—also called CPP orphan’s benefit
•    a disabled contributor’s child benefit

The Canada Pension Plan has benefits for the child of, or a child in the care and control of, a CPP disability recipient.  To be eligible, the child must be under 18 or between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution. This benefit is exempt (effective April 1, 2017).

You are required to report the total CPP benefits for which you are eligible.  CPP income received in the current month must be reported to the Ministry by the 5th day of the following month to impact your income assistance for the month following that.

The Medical Services Only (MSO) is the Ministry coverage to assist former Income Assistance/PWD recipients access some health supplements in situations when they are no longer eligible for assistance due to income in excess of assistance rate.

As an example, a PWD recipient was recently approved for Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) and his CPPD rate is more than PWD – his file will be transfer to MSO file.

Some examples of health supplements provided under MSO:

•    medical supplies, equipment and devices
•    dental services
•    optical (basic eyewear and repairs), eye examinations (if not already covered by MSP)
•    infant formula supplement
•    extended medical therapies
•    medical transportation
•    premium free Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage

For more information please visit the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction website:

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