From my own experience as a personal injury lawyer in British Columbia since 1995 I say the most excellent safeguard we have in this Province for people living in poverty is our social assistance programs. After a car accident, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, may have some obligations to pay accident benefits but that may not be enough the sustain a person’s most basic needs. There were significant changes on October 1, 2012 to the income and persons with disabilities progams which will affect ICBC injury claims. First rate information for personal injury lawyers can be found at the BC Government website.
Most people who require welfare after a car accident require it because they are unable to work and lack the income to meet their basic needs. Social assistance is therefore said replace income and is no less “wage replacement”, simply because it only replaces a portion of the income a person might otherwise have had. Take a look at my article on the deductibility of welfare payments from car accident awards.
The key changes that personal injury lawyers and injury claimants may want to consider include:
People expected to work:
- Introducing a $200 per month earnings exemption for all people.
- Reducing the wait period for earnings exemptions from three months to one month.
- Increasing asset limits to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples and families.
- increasing the vehicle exemption amount to $10,000.
- Removing time limits (previously 24 months in a five-year period).
Persons with Disabilities (PWD):
- Exempting income tax refunds for families on disability assistance.
- Increasing asset limits to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for couples and families.
- Increases to the non-discretionary trust exemption limit to $200,000,
- Increasing the trust disbursement exemption to $8,000 for promoting independence.
- Increasing earning exemptions to $800 for individuals receiving disability assistance and $1,600 for couples who are both designated as a Person with Disabilities.
- Reducing the wait period for earnings exemptions from three months to one month, and eliminating the wait period for PWDs returning to assistance
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A., LL.B.