Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the questions we are most frequently asked at our centre regarding government assistance for people with disabilities, health supports, affordable housing, and much more!
- Where do I get the forms to apply for PWD assistance?
To get the PWD application forms, a person must first get their BCeID card, and then go online and answer questions about their eligibility for PWD. Then the Ministry of Social Development will send them the application forms, or arrange that they can be picked at a specific office location.
For more information or help with this, see our Information and Referral service page!
- Can I start the application online right away?
You must get your BCeID card first.
- How do I avoid long wait times on the phone with the ministry?
Try not calling during peak times. You may also ask the automated system to call you back rather than waiting on hold.
- I have been denied for PWD, can you help me?
- How do I get taxi saver coupons?
Note that you must first be eligible for handyDART.
- How do I apply for handyDART?
You have to apply through BC Transit – information here. You do not require PWD status.
- How do I get the free/PWD bus pass?
Look here for information on how to apply for the BC Bus Pass for people receiving disability assistance.
- I’ve just been evicted. Can you help?
- I need some emotional support, but I can’t afford to hire a professional counselor - what should I do?
We have a list of affordable or free counseling services here.
- I’ve been fired from my job, and I think it is because of discrimination. What can I do?
- I love to go to the movies, but I can’t afford to pay for my caregiver to come. What can I do?
The Easter Seals Access 2 Card allows free caregiver access to certain entertainment and recreation venues. The VDRC has the forms to apply for this card in our office, or you can find out more about on the program on our website here.
Alternatively, Recreation Integration Victoria offers a Leisure Assistant’s Pass for free, but the only movie theatre they are currently partnered with is the IMAX inside of the museum.
- I want to go to the gym, is there a caregiver subsidy?
Alternatively, the Easter Seals Access 2 Card also allows free caregiver access to certain recreation centres, including the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, Recreation Oak Bay, and the YMCA, but the card costs money to acquire. You can find out more about on the program on our website here.
- Will dentists directly bill the government health care provider if I'm on PWD?
Yes, some will! We always recommend asking your dentist prior to your appointment. More information is available here.
- Is there a discount for camping?
Visit our Discounts page for more information on that.
- Are bursaries and scholarships available for persons with disabilities who want to go back to school?
Yes! It is best to check with disability student services or an academic adviser, from the school you’re interested in applying to, to discuss whether you qualify for assistance. Our Information and Referral staff can also provide some answers on this.
- Are there grants available for homeowners with a disability to get renovations done?
Yes. The forms to apply for this are available in our office, or on the HAFI website.
- Do I have to disclose my disability to my employer?
Disclosure is always a choice, not a requirement, however in most cases it is best to disclose so that employers can make the workplace and work space comfortable for you. If you want to disclose or not is up to you though!
- How can I register my dog as a service dog?
Please visit the BC government’s website on Guide Dog and Service Dog Certification for more information.
- I have misplaced my bus tickets/bus pass. Can you replace it for me?
The VDRC is not able to replace the bus pass or tickets for individuals. Call lost and found at BC Transit to see if the lost pass or tickets were returned to them.
- I am applying for Canada Pension Plan Disability and am separating from my spouse. I have been told we need to split the benefits. What now?
You should receive a letter from Service Canada if this applies to you. Follow the instructions in that letter and provide the requested information to them.
- Where can I find vision care that will work with the Ministry's allowable costs for PWD?
- Can I receive S.A.F.E.R. (Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters) while receiving PWD (Persons with Disabilities Designation?
No, you are not eligible to receive S.A.F.E.R. and receive PWD at the same time.
- How much am I allowed to earn while receiving the PWD benefit?
If you have a disability and get disability assistance, you are still allowed to work and earn money. There is an annual earnings exemption, meaning you can earn money anytime of the year, with no monthly limit, and it will not change your monthly Disability Assistance payment; of course, as long as it does not surpass the annual limit. The exemption limits are:
- $12,000 for a single person with PWD designation
- $14,400 for a family with two adults where only one of them has a PWD designation
- $24,000 for a family where both adults have a PWD designation
For more information on annual earning exemptions, please visit the BC government website.
- Will the ministry help pay off my hydro bill balance?
No, not generally. However there are some crisis circumstances in which the ministry will provide a single crisis grant. These are given out rarely.
- I am a senior seeking disability travel insurance. Can you help me?
We cannot help with this at the centre. Please check with your insurance broker for information that applies to your situation. There is no discount for travel insurance for people with disabilities, but it is strongly recommended that persons with disabilities purchase travel insurance prior to departure.