Speedy action keeps family in home

Authority Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
Details

Adam called us on the Friday that he, his wife and five children were to be evicted. He told us that the ministry had put a hold on his April income assistance cheque because it considered his Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to be an asset. Adam indicated that the RDSP was “locked in” and he could not obtain the money from it to pay his rent. Adam thought that the ministry believed that he could access the RDSP and for that reason considered the funds an asset that made him ineligible for income assistance benefits.

We spoke to the ministry the same day that Adam contacted us to investigate whether it was following a reasonable procedure with respect to the RDSP. During our investigation, it became clear that there were different views about whether Adam could access the RDSP. The issue was whether the RDSP was exempt. Our interpretation favoured exemption. The ministry was not convinced. The ministry agreed that the RDSP was exempt for clients who received disability benefits, but was not sure whether this exemption applied to recipients like Adam who were receiving regular income assistance benefits.

After our discussion, the ministry supervisor requested clarification of the policy on the exemption status of RDSP accounts. Meanwhile, with Adam’s permission, ministry staff asked his landlord to delay eviction until after the weekend. The landlord agreed. When we contacted the ministry early on Monday, the ministry confirmed that the RDSP was exempt for regular income assistance recipients. Therefore, Adam was not ineligible for income assistance benefits due to the RDSP.

Ministry staff assured us that they would be issuing a cheque to Adam’s landlord for the April rent on Monday. As a result, Adam and his family were not evicted. Adam thanked our office for our service and we closed our file as resolved.

Category Income and Benefits
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012