Financial Plans For Ensuring Your Independence
The following savings plans are available to help you financially plan for the future.
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. Being eligible for the DTC can also open the door to other government programs. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/dtc or phone 1-800-959-8281.
Registered Disability Savings Plans
In 2008, the Federal Government introduced a “Registered Disability Savings Plan” (RDSP). The purpose of this program is to enable families and individuals with disabilities to accumulate a financial nest-egg to relieve the person of the poverty that very often accompanies having a disability. The Federal Government will promote the use of RDSPs for long-term savings by making its own generous contributions that must be left within the Plan for at least ten years.
Absolute Discretionary Trusts
An Absolute Discretionary Trust, also known as a "Henson Trust", is way to provide ongoing supplementary financial support from the family’s resources without jeopardizing the disabled individual’s right to receive ODSP income support.
The primary distinguishing feature of an absolute discretionary trust is that the trustees have complete freedom (in Mr. Henson’s words, “absolute and unfettered discretion”) to use the money as they see fit, or even to retain it in the trust, so long as it is used for no other purpose than to benefit the person who has a disability.
Speak to your lawyer about including a Henson trust in your will. Actually, this type of trust can be created while you are still living. Sometimes people do it that way and name themselves and one or two others as trustees. This makes it possible for the trust to be used for the benefit of the family member while the parents are still living, including while they may themselves have a disability that would prevent them from dealing with their own money.
This can also be done by using a power of attorney for property. Any parent, when making a will, should also ask their lawyer’s advice about powers of attorney for both their property and their own personal care.