Tips From a BC Mom

"There is the organizations called CORD (Canadian Organization of Rare Disorders) and also there is TASH Canada (the society for the Severely Handicapped). These offer some specific advocacy, networking, resources, and other programs.

Autism Society of BC offers a reimbursement for up to $250 to each family per autistic spectrum child for summer programs.

Federal government lets you claim an extra $4,500/year for a disabled child as a deduction.  This may be backdated to birth if necessary or from time disability was diagnosed. A doctor must fill out a form and you submit it to Revenue Canada. Also we are exempt from all adaptive equipment we import if it is for a person with disabilities. You can also claim  uncovered medical expenses on the medical claim form in the tax return. Fuel tax rebates I believe can be claimed (up to $400/year) if you use your car most often to transport your special needs child. Once the government gets you a tax number your also entitled to a further 25% discount on car insurance (if you are disabled or if your child is frequently in need of transportation). You have to check with revenue Canada to be sure. 

Disabled bus passes only apply to adults as far as I know. However you can get a handipass (BC's disabled transport org) and that entitles you to go on the bus and your attendant goes for free. This applies to children as well as adults. HandiDarts mandate is to provide point A to B transport for those with disabilities. They can't discriminate and deny your child use (they also cost the equivalent of regular transit). I got in dispute with the BC government about HandiDart refusing to take my  son. The Ombudsmen ordered them to provide service to my son as he is a disabled individual. Rides must be booked in advance and medical tests/therapy take priority over other trips (but other types of trips are ok). 

AT Home Program of BC provides a wide range of services to families with disabled children that are impaired in 4 areas of functioning. Info on the program is available at Public Health Units. AT home provides: Medical Equipment, Dietary supplements, respite funds, fuel costs reimbursement, parking reimbursement, etc.

Disabled parking passes are also applicable to mobility impaired children. In some instances they are also provided for other disabilities.

SET BC provides a variety of services including adaptive equipment and computers. 

Society for Community Living also provides a variety of things. They can provide child care workers, counseling, parent advocates, IEP support, resources, etc.

Ministry for Social Services/Children and families can provide a variety of things also. They can provide one on one therapy on a sliding scale funding wise. They also provide respite, counseling, child care workers, special needs day care subsidy, etc. In BC the subsidized programs works as follows: family income $30,000 or less full coverage, family income $30,000 to $65,000 sliding scale subsidy, and family income over $65,000 services provided but families must pay. 

Lions clubs, Kiwanis, Kinsmen, etc all can provide a variety of things. They have request forms and may provide funds for therapies, adaptive equipment, and computers.

Also note IBM has a special purchase program for people with disabilities if you want to buy your child a computer. Also some programs such as Ability Online may be able to loan computers.

Park passes and ferry passes also apply to families of a disabled child. If you get a park pass the camping party (up to 4 people over 13, children under 13 excluded from size limit) can camp for free. Ferry passes allow the person and their attendant to both go for 1/2 price not including vehicle. Disabled recreation passes also apply to children and or their whole family.  Often to this includes one program per family member at 1/2 price per year (parks and recreation programs like swimming lessons or classes).  Also note that often recreation centers (at least in BC) offer volunteer programs where a volunteer will do the recreation activity with your disabled child, teen or adult.

For a child up to age 3 there are the Infant Development programs which offer a variety of services including OT/pt type consult, developmental evaluations, and loans cupboards as well as parent/play groups. There are also the Developmental Societies which offer OT/PT, SLP, etc and parent support groups to children up to age 6. 

The tax reimbursement for home renovations also applies when you have a disabled child.  Because the child can destroy the house or because the child needs its environment modified.  I believe the tax rebate/deduction is up to $1,400/yr.

Also financial assistance wise if you are in need due to being low income or the child's needs would put you low income some services are offered. You may be able to collect limited DB2 benefits in BC. Also if your child is ill or you have to be with your child due to medical reasons there is a special form of UIC you can collect. It runs for 20 weeks and is based on family emergency/medical issues. Also if you are a single parent and prefer to stay home with your disabled child the government can not  force you to look for work until the child is 18. At 18 children with an IQ under 70 also are automatically to get a disability income cheque.

Housing wise... how the low income/disabled housing works I lived in an Affordable Housing Complex) is you pay 30% of your gross yearly income for rent divided into 12 months). These complexes are pretty good and many are disabled access, fenced, and include heat/hot water. The go from 2 bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom town houses.  Also if you want to move into a housing co op the government may help you with your shares purchase. 

Mental Health provides a variety of things also including meds, counseling, one on one, and special therapy programs.  Childrens Hospitals also often have loans cupboards and various outreach programs. They also have libraries which will lend or photocopy info for you. Also Community living, Autism Society, and TASH also have some lending cupboards, etc I believe."

July 30, 2002

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