On September 1, 2016, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation introduced changes that make it easier for some people to apply for the provincial Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation. Folks are able to apply for PWD through the “Streamlined Application Process for Prescribed Classes” by completing a 2-page form, rather than the 28-page application, if they are enrolled in one of the following programs:
- BC Pharma Care Plan P (Palliative Care Benefits)
- Ministry of Children and Family Development At Home Program
- Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) programs
- Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits (CPP-D).
To apply for PWD using the “Streamlined Application Process,” applicants must still complete the online application for income assistance (IA). While completing the IA application, use the designated space to indicate whether you fall into one of the above categories. Once you have submitted the online IA application, a Ministry intake worker will contact you and will provide you with the 2-page PWD form in lieu of the 28-page PWD application booklet.
The advocates at TAPS are concerned that people may apply for CPP-Disability before applying for PWD in order to have a simplified PWD application process. Be careful, as this may have negative repercussions for you.
Here’s why: People on PWD have access to some medical and dental benefits that are not available through CPP-D. People who qualify for PWD and subsequently qualify for CPP-Disability will be able to continue to receive the medical benefits available to people on PWD, even if their CPP amount is above the PWD amount ($983.42) and they do not actually receive any income through PWD. They will receive what is called Medical Services Only (MSO).
On the other hand, those who qualify for CPP-D before they apply for PWD will not even be eligible to apply for PWD if their CPP-D amount is greater than the PWD amount, and will therefore not be able to access the medical services available through PWD. CPP-Disability does not provide any medical coverage.
New Role for Nurse Practitioners
On September 1, 2016, the Ministry introduced changes that allow nurse practitioners to complete Section 2 of the standard PWD application. Previously this section could only be completed by a medical doctor. However, now nurses will be able to complete both Sections 2 and 3 of the PWD application.