Annual Earnings Exemption

If you have a disability and get disability assistance you can still work and earn money. Money you earn, up to a certain amount, does not change the amount on your monthly payment. You can earn money anytime during the year and there is no monthly limit.

The annual earnings exemption applies to money you earn between January 1 and December 31 of each year. The remaining exemption doesn’t carry over year to year. You will receive a new exemption limit each year.  The exemption limits are:

  • $9,600 for a single person with the Persons with Disabilities designation
  • $12,000 for a family with two adults with only one person with the Persons with Disabilities designation
  • $19,200 for a family where both adults have the Persons with Disabilities designation

You can use your annual earnings exemption anytime during the year without affecting your monthly payment amount. For example, you may work a lot in some months and less in others. You will not have any money deducted from your assistance cheque until you earn more than your annual limit for that calendar year.

Any money you earn over the annual earnings exemption limit will be deducted dollar for dollar from your assistance payment. However, you always keep 100 per cent of any money you earn yourself. You may want to keep track of your earnings if you expect to earn more than the annual limit before the end of the calendar year.

You will also receive a letter when you are getting close to your exemption limit (have reached 75% of your exemption limit). 

If you start disability assistance part way through the year, your annual earnings exemption amount is prorated based on the number of months remaining in the calendar year.

If there is a change in your family, your annual earnings exemption limit will change depending on your new circumstance.

Income & Changes

You must complete a monthly report, or stub, by the fifth of every month if you earn income or have changes to report to the ministry. When you complete your report, let us know if there are any changes in your family circumstances as this may affect your annual earnings exemption limit. This includes income that does not change from month-to-month. You must also let us know if you have no income to report in the following month.

Income is money you receive from:

  • Working
  • Someone who is renting a room in the home you live in, and is using the same space that you also use in the home
  • Someone who pays you room and board
  • Workers Compensation Board (WCB) temporary wage loss replacement payments
  • Contribution to a pension plan that are given back to you because your contributions were not enough to make a pension

Examples of changes you must also report, include:

  • Joining or separating from a spouse
  • Moving
  • Adding or removing a dependent

If you earn more than your annual limit, and your monthly earnings continue to be over assistance rates, you won’t get an assistance payment. You may be able to continue to get medical benefits and you do not lose your Persons with Disabilities designation.

You may reapply for assistance at any time if your earnings fall below disability assistance rates, or in the following calendar year, when you are eligible for a new annual earnings exemption limit. If you are receiving medical benefits and not disability assistance at the end of the year, you will need to contact the ministry to be reassessed for the new exemption year.

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