Clients using the Ontario Disability Support Program can soon hold larger amounts in liquid assets without the program clawing back their benefits.

Ontario’s 2017 budget, released Thursday, says the government is raising the exempt asset limits for people using the ODSP, helping them to save more and avoid the need to deplete their liquid assets before receiving support.

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The government is hiking the exemption limits on cash and liquid assets from $5,000 to $40,000 for single individuals and from $7,500 to $50,000 for couples. The changes will be effective by January 2018, the budget says.

“It will give a lot more latitude to families who have those issues, and to family members to plan in a more effective way,” says Doug Carroll, practice lead for tax, estate and financial planning at Meridian.

The exemption limits apply to assets held in cash, RRSPs or TFSAs. Funds held in an RDSP or Henson Trust are entirely exempted and would not count towards the client’s exemption limits under the program.

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The ODSP has its own provincial qualification criteria but is similar to federal criteria for the disability tax credit.

The government is also increasing the ODSP exemption limits for receiving cash gifts, hiking them from $6,000 to $10,000 per year, noting that some recipients may rely on the support of family and friends.

The Ontario budget will also raise the cash exemption thresholds for people receiving Ontario Works social assistance.

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