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Autism Q&A

Autism Funding

August 9th, 2020

AutismBC

For Caregivers

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). In some regions you will have access to a pilot MCFD Family Connection Centre instead of individualized autism funding. You will need to choose which option is the best fit for you and your child.

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 until the month the child turns 19. You can, but are not required to, select service providers from the (RASP). Additional support services are also available from the Ministry of Education. 

For information on funding, eligibility, or how to apply visit Autism Information Services (AIS).  

What funding is available for autism?
What funding is available for autism?


There are proposed changes to Autism Funding in BC in the coming years.  In some regions of the province, MCFD/CYSN is piloting Family Connection Centres (FCC), in four regions of the Province (Kelowna, Smithers, Terrace & Prince Rupert) which provide services instead of individualized funding. You can learn more about it here, and what your options are: Pilot family connections centres in four communities – Province of British Columbia

To learn more about what happens after your child ages out of autism funding: 

Transitioning into Adulthood: What Happens When My Child is 19? 

 

Government Funding Programs & Support 

Disability Tax Credit  

“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, 2024)  

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs such as: 

Registered Disability Savings Program (RDSP)  

“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, 2024) 

Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) 

“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, 2024) 

Child Disability Benefit (CBD) 

The child disability benefit (CDB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to families who care for a child under age 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. (Government of Canada, 2024) 

To get the CDB: 

  • You must be eligible for the Canada child benefit (CCB) 
  • Your child must be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC) 

If you are already getting the CCB for your child who is eligible for the DTC, you do not need to apply for the CDB. You will get it automatically. 

At Home Program (AHP)  

The At Home Program is designed to support children and teens with a severe disability or complex health care needs – find out about the application and eligibility requirements below. 

For information about the medical benefits that the program may provide, please see the At Home Program Guide or find out more at the Medical Benefits website below. If your child or a child you are supporting is already eligible for the program, please visit this webpage for information about requesting benefits.” (Government of BC, 2024) 

Note for people living in the areas in and around Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii, Smithers, Terrace or Kelowna: There is a different application process to access At Home Program Medical Benefits for families living in these areas. If you live in one of these areas, please use the link to the pilot areas At Home Program Medical Benefits application process. ” (Government of BC, 2024) 

Additional 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).  
  • If eligible, apply for grant funding for specialized therapies through Variety Children’s Charity: Specialized Therapies – Variety BC.  


Question: Is Funding Prorated?
 

Answer: Funding will be prorated once approved 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 seven months until the next birthday, a longer term – up to 19 months- would be approved. This is only for the first year, and children who are five 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? 

 Answer: It is always risky to start services before 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: Can I pay for services and be reimbursed? What about equipment, too? 

Answer: Autism funding does not allow you to pay for services and request reimbursement. However, if the justification for equipment (JFE) is approved, you can request reimbursement for equipment purchased six months from the submission date.  

Within six months of purchase, complete the Reimbursement of Autism Expenses Form (PDF) and attach a copy of your receipt.  

Make sure the receipt shows: 

  • The date the item was purchased 
  • Where the purchase was made 
  • The amount (including taxes) 
  • Proof of payment (e.g. credit card, cash, PayPal, etc.) 

Shipping receipts, common from online retailers like Amazon, are not accepted. 

The fastest way to submit the form and receipt is through My Family ServicesYou can also submit by email, mail or fax. This option can take up to 30 business days.  The Autism Funding team will compare your approved JFE form on file with the items you purchased.” (Government of BC, 2024) 

Question: How long does it take from diagnosis to when AFU approves the paperwork (if it is sent right after diagnosis)? 

Answer:  The Autism Funding Unit receives a mailed copy of the autism funding application from your regional CYSN worker. It can take a week to process and activate funding. However, to access the autism funding portal through My Family Services, you will need a BCeID. The BCeID process is simple, and once approved, your autism funding portal will likely take an additional week to show up on the portal. Funding will not appear on the portal until you submit a Request to Pay. Any other processing time would be on the CYSN side, such as delayed processing/intake of the application at the CYSN office. For those residing in a pilot region, you are not required to meet with your CYSN worker but rather submit the diagnosis directly to them via email. Autism funding – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca) 

 

MCFD is seeking feedback! MCFD asks: When thinking about what you need from a new system of services for children and youth with support needs, what is most important? Open to all British Columbians until December 1, 2024 at 4pm PST. Home – Children and Youth with Support Needs (gov.bc.ca) 

 

Further funding information and support: 

Ask the Autism Funding Unit team for help with funding paperwork or processes. 

Victoria Office 
250 387-3530  Toll Free 1 877 777-3530 

Email: [email protected] 

For questions about available community resources and building a support team, please contact Autism Information Services BC 1 844 878-4700.

Email: [email protected] 

If you live in the Central Okanagan or the North Coast / Bulkely Nechako areas, you have options for how your family accesses supports and services. 

For more information, visit the following link or call Autism Information Services BC 1 844 878-4700: Service Delivery Choice for families in Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii, Smithers, Terrace, Kelowna and the surrounding areas. ” (Government of BC, 2024) 

 

Additional Resources 

Autism funding – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca) 

Forms & Resources – Province of BC 

AFU Families – Facebook Group 

Autism Funding in BC (Autism Funding for Dummies) 

Funding & Accessibility Services You Need to Know About! 

For Tax Season 

AutismBC Talks: Money Matters with Dave Taylor 

Canada Caregiver Amount 

Home Accessibility Expenses 

Autism-Related Benefits and Taxes 

 

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