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If you would like easy to understand information on the new Registered Disability Savings Plan please visit www.rdsp.com

Now that the Registered Disability Savings Plan has been available for almost half a year, it would be interesting to hear what type of experience people have had:

  • Accessing information about the RDSP
  • Trying to get the Disability Tax Credit
  • Figuring out who can manage the plan
  • Applying through the financial institutions
  • Setting up the plan
  • Contributing to the plan
  • Telling others about the plan

Over the past few months I have heard some really interesting stories about people setting up RDSPs, or trying to set up RDSPs.  Some of these stories have been wonderful and uplifting, while others have been frustrating.  As the first plan of its kind in the world, there are still many things that need to be done in order to ensure everyone who can benefit from the plan is able too.

With the limited amount of information currently available for someone looking to set up an RDSP, and much confusion as to how the plan actually works, telling your story may really help someone who is in the same situation you are.  

If you have a spare moment in your day, post a story here about your experience with the RDSP.  By doing this you can help us understand how the plan is working for people, and what are the key issues that need to be addressed.

To start off, I will tell a story about a friend of mine who wants to set up an RDSP.  

Beth (not her real name) had been planning to set up an RDSP on December 1st, 2008, the first day the RDSP became available.  I had run through the plan with her and explained how she might be able to benefit from it, and Beth was clearly looking forward to “cashing in” (her words) on this opportunity.  She came on to my RDSP telephone seminar a few times and got to know the plan so well that a few times I had to go back to my notes in order to give her an answer to her questions.

Unfortunately for Beth, her eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit was in question.  Beth had been seeing the same doctor she had since she was young, until she moved, at which point she had to find a new doctor.  As a result, her new doctor was not aware of her history as well as her old one.  This meant filling out the Disability Tax Credit was quite the ordeal for her.  We had to go back several times and explain to her new doctor why she was eligible.

Eventually, we were able to get everything filled out and sent off to CRA, but we are still unsure of her status and whether she will receive it.  From a lot of the e-mails I get, I hear that others have had this problem as well.  I’m hoping that Beth gets the credit, as she could receive it retroactive for the last few years, which would hopefully give her some money towards her RDSP.

If you would like easy to understand information on the new Registered Disability Savings Plan please visit www.rdsp.com

I admit, when it comes to technology, I have no idea how to make choices.  If you asked me what the difference between a Bluray and HD-DVD player is, I would not be able to help you.  If you asked me which was better, a sony television or a panasonic, I really wouldn’y know.  So, you may ask, what do I do when you have to make a decision on something like a television, or a DVD player?  I ask my brother.  I will also admit, this isn’t the only time in my life that I will glady ask someone else for their opinion in order to make a decision.  I ask the people I trust in my life to help me make all sorts of choices, big or small.

One of the issues that has become more evident as the RDSP rolls-out is the large gap in the policy surrounding decision-making.  Currently, in many provinces, you either have the capacity to make your own decisions, or you do not have the capacity to make any decisions, in which case you need someone to be legally appointed to make those decisions.  

In many cases, it’s not that simple.

As I mentioned before, many people are more than capable of making most of the decisions in their life, but will also look to those they trust to help them make some of these decisions.  If many of us reflected on our own lives, we would see that a lot of the decisions we make are not alone.   So why do many provinces fail to provide a supported decision-making vehicle that acknowledges these trusting relationships?

In response to these issues, we created a 16 page Bulletin called Making Sound Decisions.  An electronic version of this bulletin is available for free at www.rdsp.com and can be accessed by becoming a free supporter of PLAN.

Articles within the Bulletin include:

  •  From Coast to Coast: A Patchwork of Rules – Review of the Provincial Rules of Guardianship.
  • Maria’s Dilemma: Choosing a Trustee – Runs through the roles and responsibilities of being a trustee, and what you need to consider when choosing a trustee.
  • Power of Attorney for Property – Provides an overview of a Power of Attorney and its relationship with the new RDSP.
  • The Representation Agreement: A Model for Canada – Gives an outline of Representation Agreements in British Columbia, which has become the benchmark of Supported Decision-making legislation.
  • Making Sound Decisions with Support – Outlines the importance of relationships and networks in a persons life and highlights the story of the Tesans.
  • Guardianship: A Last Resort… – Gives an overview of Guardianship, how it applies to families, and when it may or may not be the tool you want to set up for your family member.
  • Managing an RDSP: Time for Guardianship Reform – Reviews the requirements and responsibilities for those setting up an RDSP, and pinpoints gaps and issues that need to be addressed so that everyone who is eligible can benefit from the RDSP. 
  • The RDSP: A great opportunity, just out of reach – Written by Karin Melberg Schwier, this article runs through the story of Karin, her husband, their son Jim, and their struggles with financial institutions administering the RDSP.

Here is an excerpt from “The RDSP: A great opportunity, just of reach”, written by Karin Melberg Schwier:

We were on the verge of making arrangements to open an RDSP but when Jim and I stopped in, our loans officer said that a person must have the ‘mental capacity’ to understand the RDSP before they can open one. I said that Jim understands he has a bank account, that he deposits money, knows that his bank card works for purchases, and that an RDSP would be “money in his bank.” She said that’s not enough. The person must be able to have a conversation about various investment options. She compared it to smelling alcohol on someone’s breath; in that case, she would not be able to conduct banking business with that person.

If strict ‘mental capacity’ criteria are going to be applied to the RDSP, this is going to deny thousands of people across Canada access to this wonderful benefit. I hope that this means test won’t apply to my business at the bank; I sometimes I glaze over when our bank representative is talking investment options.

To read the rest of this story, click here and get your free electronic copy of our 16 page Bulletin Making Sound Decisions, as well as our new Updated RDSP Bulletin.


 

For those of you who live in BC, I thought it might be worth mentioning that PLAN is running 3 contests where you could win $,1500 to be deposited in a Registered Disability Savings Plan of your choosing (it could be your own).  You do not have to purchase anything, and can simply sign up by visiting www.plan.ca and inputting your name and e-mail.

The 3 draws will be administered by an Independent Judging Organization on June 15th, 2009, August 15th, 2009, and October 15th, 2009.  You only need to sign up once to be considered for all 3 draws.  You must be at least the age of majority to sign up, but in the case of a child the parent can always enter the draw and then select their child’s RDSP to receive the deposit if they win.

In most cases this $1,500 contribution will leverage $3,500 from the Federal Government, resulting in $5,000 deposited into your RDSP.  

If you would like more information click here.

Remember, if you live in BC, you can also pick up a free copy of our book Safe and Secure: RDSP Edition at your local London Drugs Pharmacy.  To see the London Drugs location nearest you click here.

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