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Autism Q&A

RDSP Tips and Resources

March 7th, 2024

AutismBC

For Caregivers, Adults

A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a Canadian-wide (and a registered matching savings plan) specifically for people with disabilities. Think about this savings plan similarly to a RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) or an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) with a disability boost on returns and growth 

If you, or one of your children, have qualified for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) then you should consider taking advantage of one of the best savings plans out there: A (RDSP)

A few of the benefits at a glance:  
  • Grow Money on your contributions: The Government will match your contributions $1 for every $1 you contribute up to $1,000 each year.    
  • Government Assistance: When you open an RDSP, you can apply for a Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond 
  • Start with Zero Contributions: You do not need to contribute an amount to receive the Canada Savings Bond (So it’s worth opening even if you can’t contribute)  
  • You can use the funds on anything: unlike the RESP which can only be used for education—the RDSP can be used to support the individual in whatever way they need in their adult life.   
  • Family and friends can contribute to the plan: with the consent of the plan holder, of course! 
Tip 1: Talk to a Financial Consultant  

The RDSP is an important asset for your loved one(s) and it’s beneficial to have someone in your corner who knows all the ins and outs that you can trustThey can help you to maximize this benefit and they will know when/if you qualify for free grants and bondsThey will also be able to suggest tips on how to grow your contributions (from yourself!)  and from the government. Do your due diligence, ask questions, look at statements and keep an eye on its progress. 

Tip 2: It’s Okay to Start with Small Contributions

You don’t need to contribute any dollar amount to get started! Not everyone can make regular contributions to their loved one’s RDSP, but remember that even if the contribution is small, it will still grow! Along with the bonds and grants available, there are programs like Endowment 150 which provides a one-time grant of $150 to help kickstart the growth of an RDSP. 

Tip 3: Learn about Bonds & Grants

When you open the RDSP, you can apply for the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond and if you’re eligible, the government will automatically deposit the amounts into your account annually.

  • The Canada Disability Savings Bond can provide up to $1000 per year with no contribution to eligible families.
  • The Canada Disability Grant will match your contributions – that means for every dollar you put in the government will also put money in!  The grant matches $1 for each $1 up to a maximum of $3,500.    

How much you can get and how much the government will contribute depends on your family’s income. You can go here to see how much you could be eligible for.   

Tip 4: Be Mindful of Restrictions

Keep in mind that RDSPs are for the long term! These savings vehicles are meant for when your loved one is well into adulthood.   

It’s good to be aware of the following restrictions: 

  • There is no limit on the amount you can contribute to a given year – there is only a cap on the amount of the grants per year. However, the maximum lifetime contribution amount is $200,000.    
  •  Specific restrictions surround withdrawals and the timing of withdrawals from an RDSP.   There is a 10-year repayment rule that will require you to pay back any grants and bonds if you withdraw or close the RDSP within 10 years following the most recent grant or bond. 
Tip 5: If Disability Tax Credit (DTC) does not get renewed: 

You have the option to close the plan or keep it open! You can keep your RDSP, but you will no longer be able to add new contributions and will no longer be eligible for any grants or bonds moving forward.     

Tip 6: If Disability Tax Credit (DTC) does not get renewed: 

If there is already an RESP in place, check with a financial advisor about whether it should be left as is or if there are other options, like investing the funds in the RDSP instead. A professional should be able to provide you with the best answers and options and advise you on the best route to take!    

A blog about RESP that may be helpful:   

My kid is disabled. How could be RESPs be relevant to us? 

Extra Help: 

As a parent (caregiver), you already have much on your plate. Figuring this out on your own can be a challenge. Plan Institute can help you. They have experts in the field, online tutorials, web resources, and a toll-free help number: 1-844-311-7526. 

 

Resources  

Asdfunding Blogpost on RDSP 

Autism and your Family FinancesLife on the Spectrum 

Disability Alliance BC (DABC) 

Autism BC Disability Tax Credit Blog   

RDSP Savings CalculatorGovernment of Canada 

RDSP Plan Institute 

Taxes and the RDSP 

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