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Autism Q and A: Autism Funding

Aug 9th, 2020

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. 

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

What funding is available for autism?

There are proposed changes to Autism Funding in BC in the coming years.   More information about the changes can be found in this blog – MCFD’s Autism Funding Changes and Family Hubs 

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, 2021)  

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, 2021) 

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, 2021) 

Child Disability Benefit (CBD) 

The child disability benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to families who care for a child under 18-years-old who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).  

At Home Program (AHP)  

“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.  

 

Additional Resources 

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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