I was reading in the park and noticed a mother walking with a young daughter who was in a motorized wheelchair. Whenever I see someone that appears to have a disability I always wonder if they have a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). The odds are that they do not.
It is estimated that about 60% of those who qualify for the RDSP have not set one up. That child could have a reasonable pension at age 60 even without qualifying for the Canada Pension Plan. But do the parents know about the RDSP? The odds are they don’t. Do I have some responsibility to tell them about it? I have a child with a disability. Someone told me about the RDSP, and I am very glad that they did.
I’m not very outgoing. I never start a conversation with a stranger, much less in circumstances when I will imply that someone has a disability. Some folks are sensitive, and I am clumsy with words. I feel uneasy, but I was enjoying my book, the fresh air and the sunshine; my unease faded away. I sat tight.
Here they are, returning and heading for the parking lot. Now guilt grips me. If I say nothing they may miss out on up to $90,000 that the federal government is willing to put into an RDSP for the financial well being of the girl. I squirm with discomfort. I can see the mother loading the wheelchair into a van equipped with a loading ramp. Calling on some too dormant sense of responsibility I walk over and somewhat abruptly ask, “Are you familiar with the Registered Disability Savings Plan? “. The mother was not, so I gave her a bit of information and wrote down the link RDSP.com for her. I assured her there was a wealth of information there for her and that the RDSP was an exceptionally generous savings and investment plan with no downside. She was very appreciative but we only had a brief chat as she was in a bit of a hurry.
I returned to my park bench but not to my book. Musings flooded my mind. That family already had a Registered Education Savings Plan, so that family had some dealings with a financial institution, they had a motorized wheelchair so they had some dealings with a medical supply firm, they had a van that was modified with a wheelchair ramp so some workers did the installation, they surely had consulted numerous individuals in the medical field and surely they were in contact with some association assisting those with disabilities. All of those contacts and seemingly not one of them had told them the good news of the RDSP. I felt heroic.
Why had I even hesitated to ask a simple “Are you familiar with the Registered Disability Savings Plan”? Why was I so hesitant when it feels so good to feel helpful? When you are faced with a similar opportunity, I urge you to take the initiative and help spread the word about the RDSP.