In BC, we have access to provincial government funding for autism services through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). People 18-years-old and under are entitled to funding after they receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Funding Under Age 6
Families can access up to $22,000 per year to help pay for eligible autism services, therapies, or equipment. You are required to select service providers from the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP) except for registered family counselling/therapy providers.
Funding Ages 6 – 18
Families can access up to $6,000 per year to help pay for eligible, out-of-school autism services and therapies. You can, but are not required to, select service providers from the (RASP). Additional support services are also available from the Ministry of Education.
“The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities, or their supporting persons, reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. An individual may claim the disability amount once they are eligible for the DTC. This amount includes a supplement for persons who will be under 18 years of age at the end of the year.” (Government of Canada, 2021)
Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as:
“A registered disability savings plan (RDSP) is a savings plan that is intended to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC).” (Government of Canada, 2021)
“Canada workers benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit to help individuals and families who are working and earning a low income. It has two parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement. You can claim the CWB when you file your income tax return.” (Government of Canada, 2021)
“The at Home Program is designed to support children and teens with a severe disability or complex health care needs.” (Government of BC, 2021)
Funding Tips & Facts
Use up your extended health benefits if you have them. The amount covered will depend on the plan, but you may have a yearly amount for occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and psychology/counselling services.
Never leave funding money unused if you can help it. You can use autism funding for counselling for the entire family (autistic child, marital counselling, sibling counselling, parent counselling).
Question: Is Funding Prorated?
Answer: Once funding has been approved funding will be prorated based on the child’s birthday. So, if funding is approved in October and a child’s birthday is in August the amount would be prorated to 11 months. Additionally, for the first funding year, if a child has less than 7 months until the next birthday a longer term would be approved – up to 19 months. This is only for the first year, and children who are 5 and moving to the Autism Funding 6-18 program would not get the longer term as the two funding programs are different and cover different things.
Question: Can you start services before funding is approved?
It is always risky to start services before receiving confirmation that funding has been approved – if something is missing from the application or if the agreement wasn’t signed and sent back the funding period might be different than expected by the parent and then they would be responsible for payment. So, though Request to Pays can be backdated to the beginning of the funding term, we would suggest waiting for approval before beginning services unless a family is prepared to take on the risk of having to pay for services in the event of a different funding term than expected.
Question: How long does it take from time of diagnosis to the time that AFU approves the paperwork (if it is sent in right after diagnosis)?
Answer: On the Autism Funding side they are currently processing applications in 4-5 days – often sooner. Any other processing time would be on the CYSN side – so delayed processing/intake of the application at the CYSN office. It is not unreasonable to expect the approval to take a few months.